Petrol pump dealers call off their October 13 strike

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Petrol pump dealers have called off their proposed nationwide strike on October 13, Friday, reports ANI. The strike was called protesting against discrepancies in supply and demand to include petroleum products under the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The strike called by United Petroleum Front, an umbrella organisation of three nationwide organisations of all petrol dealers would have affected 54,000 petrol pumps across the country. Petrol pump owners have withdrawn their strike after tough stance taken by oil marketers. On Tuesday, state-run oil marketers said they are baffled by the move as almost all their demands have already been met but warned that being an Esma subject they may approach the states to scuttle the strike.

Addressing the media jointly, marketing directors of the three state-run OMCs — IOC, BPCL and HPCL — rebutted dealers’ allegations point-by-point, and said in the last 11 months, their commission was hiked thrice, latest hike being on August 1, taking the total dealer commission to Rs 3.50/L for petrol and Rs 2.10/L for diesel and Rs 45/cylinder of cooking gas.

Indian Oil’s marketing director B S Canth said dealer commission was also hiked in November 2016 and March 2017. “Their demands are very unreasonable as almost all their demands have been met and issues resolved. Also this is not a professional way of calling a strike. They did not intimate us on this. We came to know about it in the media.

“But if they’ve issues with new marketing discipline guidelines and the penalties for not implementing them, then all I can say is that only those flouting these norms need to worry. These are for the benefit of the public,” Canth said, adding “we still hope they won’t go ahead with the strike.” Still he added he “expects them to see reason and act accordingly, as there is no demand which are met.” S Ramesh, director marketing at BPCL, said OMCs fail to understand why dealers are not happy with the new wages implemented for bunker attendants as the entire wage hike of up to 49 per cent has been absorbed by OMCs.

“In fact, it’s a question of short-changing labourers, flouting government fixed minimum wages,” said an OMC official. Hoping that the strike may not happen, OMC officials said luckily hundreds of dealers are coming onto social media saying they are not joining the strike.

With PTI inputs