Oil sector employees go on strike

January 7th, 2009 - 2:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) A majority of employees of oil firms stayed away from work at processing plants and refineries across the country Wednesday following a strike call given by their union.The 45,000-strong oil sector officers association, covering 14 organisations, had called for a strike from 6 a.m. Wednesday over pay revision packages.

According to a senior Indian Oil (IOC) official, all IOC refineries have been impacted to various degrees. “Our workers and officers above deputy general manger levels have not gone on strike,” he said.

The official said most aviation stations have been working, especially in metropolitan cities, with no impact on international flights yet.

Meanwhile, an official at Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) said its gas processing plants at Uran and Hazira have been affected. “There has been no shift change which usually occurs at 8 a.m., so nobody has reported to work,” he said.

GAIL has also been impacted by the indefinite strike, with reports that supplies of natural gas had stopped at Hazira.

The consumers will only start feeling the pinch once the retail outlets complete the sale of their present stock, which is expected to last about five to seven days.

The petroleum ministry is going to take stock of the strike situation Wednesday afternoon, with a meeting chaired by Petroleum Secretary R.S. Pandey.

The ministry had indicated Tuesday evening that it expected the impact to be only in three refineries of IOC and Oil India, but the strike seems to be more widespread than expected.

The ministry had said that it would turn to private refiners, Essar and Reliance, if there was any shortfall in petroleum products reaching the market.

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