Bharat Petroleum Staff Wants To Stop Privatisation; 4800 Employee On Strike
Against the management’s decision to sign a long-term wage settlement that facilitates speedy privatization of the company, more than 4,800 employees of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) have been on a 48-hour strike since Monday.
What Does The BPCL Employee Say?
According to the employees, the government is planning on giving the right to review terms of 10-year service contracts to the company management after June 2020.
Basically, this will allow the private management in the future to amend the terms of service of the workers.
So the employees fear that the retirement benefits and gratuity will not be available for them if the company turns private.
The revision of wages has been pending since January 1, 2017, for this second-largest fuel retailer and third-biggest oil refiner of India.
Mr. Chutia said, “The management offered a very marginal revision, which is below IOC, ONGC, HPCL. For a long time, the employees of BPCL have been demanding that they should be given benefits at par with other public sector oil companies,”.
But, the management has refused to accept this demand evidently as MG Aji, General Secretary of Cochin Refinery Workers Association (affiliated to Centre of Indian Trade Unions or CITU) noted.
Further, the conditions applied by the management include acceptance of clauses of sale/purchase agreement for privatization with the tendering party and curtailment of retirement benefits such as provident fund, gratuity, pension, and medical benefits upon privatization, according to Aji.
Moreover, the management has refused to either convene a meeting for negotiations or to discuss various demands.
It seems that unions are irked with the government’s decision to provide guidance on employee protection, asset stripping and business continuity in BPCL to potential acquirers of the company only at a later stage of bidding, as mentioned in the privatization rules issued by the Department of Disinvestment since they are selling its entire 52.98% stake in BPCL.
How Did This Happen?
Basically these employees belong from their refineries in Mumbai and Kochi.
Of the18 unions in BPCL, employees from over 15 unions went for the strike to protest against the government’s privatization move and non-settlement of wages by the management to hasten the privatization.
Because of this strike on two business days, Monday and Tuesday, the LPG plants and marketing depots were also shut.
The General Secretary of Petroleum and Gas Workers’ Federation of India, Nogen Chutia, “the first day of 48 hours strike was complete in Kochi and Mumbai refineries. In the eastern parts, too, all the LPG plants and marking depots have been closed,”.