Court restrains oil companies’ employees from striking work

January 6th, 2009 - 8:40 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Tuesday restrained employees of oil companies from going on an indefinite strike from Wednesday for higher wages. Justice Anil Kumar restrained the employees after state-owned GAIL approached the court and termed the proposed strike illegal. He posted the next hearing to March 2.

The court retrsined the oil compnaies’ employees, basing its order on a ruling of the Supreme Court which declared that the strikes are illegal.

Over 2,000 GAIL executives are part of the Oil Sector Officers Association (OSOA), which has given an call for indefinite strike call from Wednesday to protest a pay increase that turned out lesser than what was demanded by the organisation.

A strike in the oil sector can cripple the already fragile economy and companies like GAIL have been approaching courts for restraint orders to keep fuel supply lines operating.

Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), the nation’s largest oil and gas producer, has also moved court for a similar stay to keep its operations running.

OSOA, representing around 45,000 employees in 14 public sector oil firms, has called the indefinite strike demanding higher wages.

According to OSOA, its members do not believe the government is sincere about increasing their pay scales.

Reacting to the strike threat, the petroleum ministry has asked the states to invoke the stringent Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) or the National Security Act (NSA) to tackle work stoppage in the crucial energy sector.

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