Officials of oil PSUs to strike work from tomorrow

Officials of oil PSUs to strike work from tomorrow

New Delhi: Executives of public sector oil companies will go on an indefinite strike from tomorrow to press for higher wages, a move that may affect fuel supplies and cripple oil and gas production.

The Oil Sector Officers’ Association (OSOA) said 50,000 officers in 14 oil PSUs will strike work from tomorrow over non-revision of wages that was due from 1 January, 2007.

“Our plan to strike work from 0600 hrs tomorrow stands," OSOA President Amit Kumar said.

A strike by officers may immediately impact oil and gas production from offshore fields of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and would also affect production of fuels like petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene from refineries if the strike lasts more than two days.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora appealed to the officers to keep the wider national interest in mind and desist from striking. He said his ministry favours higher wages and has recommended the same to Department of Public Enterprises and the matter was under consideration.

“I am hopeful that a decision will be taken soon and so the officers should not resort to such a move," he said.

OSOA said it had earlier submitted a 13-point charter of demand that included categorisation of all oil sector PSUs in highest A+ category, thereby entitling workers of the best remuneration available for a government-sector company.

It is also seeking introduction of open ended pay-scales, removal of 50% ceiling on perks and allowances, 5 year periodicity of wage revision and maintaining the same annual and promotion increment levels of four and six per cent already in vogue.

"OSOA’s meetings on November 12 and 15 with DPE and Petroleum Ministry have not yielded any favourable results,“ Amit Kumar said.

“In view of no clear response from DPE and Petroleum Ministry so far, OSOA has resolved to go-ahead with the proposed agitation programme of indefinite strike with effect from 0600 hrs of 18 November," he added.

The proposed strike, OSOA said, would result in Rs183 crore per day revenue loss for ONGC on account of loss of crude oil production, sale of gas and value added products. For all upstream companies put together, the revenue loss would total to Rs225 crore per day.

In the downstream, Indian Oil Corp, the nation’s largest fuel retailer, would alone lose Rs600 crore per day in revenues and all retailers put together would lose over Rs900 crore per day.

The loss on excise duty to the Government is expected to be more than Rs100 crores per day, it said.

Although OSOA deeply regrets the severe inconvenience to the general public, it absolves itself of all the consequence of such an eventuality which has been forced on us by the indifferent attitude of the Government towards this critical issue, OSOA said in a statement here.