FAQs on the oil strike

January 9th, 2009 - 6:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Frequently asked questions on the oil employees’ strike:Q: Who all are involved?

A: Employees of 13 public sector energy companies, including majors such as Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum, Oil and Natural Gas Corp and GAIL India (previously Gas Authority of India Ltd).

The Oil Sector Officers Association (OSOA) - the umbrella organisation representing 45,000 officers in 14 public sector oil and gas companies - called the strike from 6 a.m. Wednesday.

11,000 Hindustan Petroleum Corp officers have not joined the strike.

Of total 17 public sector owned refineries, four have shut shop, remaining 13 are running at 60 percent capacity utilisation.

Q: What do they want?

A: wage hike. OSOA claims that the average wage hike is only 17 percent and the government was hoodwinking the people by saying that it was between 55 to 149 percent.

Q: Employees of which 13 companies are on strike?

A: Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), Oil India Corp (OIL), Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Chennai Petroleum Corp Ltd (CPCL), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), GAIL (India) Ltd. (GAIL), Bongaigaon Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (BRPL), Engineers India Ltd. (EIL), Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL), IBP Ltd, Kochi Refineries, Numaligarh Refinery (NRL), Balmer-Lawrie.

Q: What is the fallout of the strike?

A: Petrol pumps are running dry resulting in serpentine queues at HPCL petrol pumps, while those operated by private retail company Essar Oil have seen a spurt in demand.

Refineries are not working across Koyali (Gujarat), Haldia (West Bengal), Panipat(Haryana) and Mathura (Uttar Pradesh).

Q: How many people, sectors are hit?

A: Vehicle owners, public transport and school children who use school buses, plus power, steel and fertiliser plants that need gas and oil supplies. The aviation sector too has been hit. Aditya Birla Nuvo had to shut down its fertiliser plant in Uttar Pradesh.

Q: What is the government doing to resolve the situation?

A: Petroleum Minister Murli Deora has begun conducting talks with the Territorial Army to break the impasse.

The government has also invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act(ESMA) and started arresting trade union officials. ONGC has sacked 54 striking employees.

The country’s two private refiners, Essar and Reliance Industries, have been asked to meet any shortfall that state-owned oil companies may face.

Q: Any solution in sight?

A: IOC says staffers in south India have returned to work. The government says crisis will be over by Monday.

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