Essential services Act advocated to tackle oil sector strike

January 5th, 2009 - 8:28 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 5 (IANS) The petroleum ministry has asked states to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) or the National Security Act (NSA) against employees of public sector oil companies if they go ahead with the proposed strike from Jan 7. “I appealed to the employees to reconsider their decision to go on strike in the light of the difficult time the economy is going through,” Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said.

The Oil Sector Officers’ Association (OSOA), an umbrella organisation representing 45,000 oil sector employees, has threatened strike from Wednesday, demanding higher wages.

Deora said he was willing to meet the association representatives Monday, but they refused his overture. All oil companies have taken contingency measures in case the strike goes ahead, he added.

Petroleum Secretary R.S. Pandey said the state governments have been asked to invoke the ESMA or the centre’s NSA to deal with the strike.

“The Assam government has already invoked the ESMA, while other state governments have said that they are in the process of doing so,” Pandey said.

According to Indian Oil Corp chairperson Saarthak Behuria, the immediate effect of the strike would be on the supply of aviation fuel (ATF) and the IOC has taken the help of senior officials and the territorial army to man all the supply stations.

Pandey added that the strike was “illegal”. Oil companies plan to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the employees, who go on strike, he added.

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