Delhi High Court issues notices to Centre, ONGC

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Contentious issues


Oil PSU officers

demand pay revisions every five years; 100 per cent DA neutralisation with effect from January 1, 1996; 50 per cent DA merger; and immediate release of additional stagnation increments.

Petroleum Minister

says Government will consider demand sympathetically.

New Delhi, May 30

Officers of public sector oil companies have postponed their proposed indefinite strike to July 17, as the Delhi High Court has issued notices to the Centre and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) on the matter. The strike was originally slated to begin on Wednesday morning.

According to Oil Sector Officers Association (OSOA) members, the Delhi High Court asked the association to postpone the strike and this was agreed to on the assurance of counsel for ONGC that the management and the Government would try to resolve the issue at the earliest.

Mr L.K. Mirchandani, President of the Association of Scientific Technical Officers (ASTO) of ONGC, which is part of OSOA, said "the ONGC management had approached Delhi High Court against our strike. The court did not declare the strike illegal but issued notices to Government and ONGC on our demands. The Court has posted the matter to July 17."

Mr Ashok Singh, convener of OSOA, said that the association had also decided to postpone the strike until July 17.

Demands

Earlier, Mr Mirchandani told reporters that the strike was called in support of theirdemands for periodic pay revisions every five years; 100 per cent DA neutralisation with effect from January 1, 1996; 50 per cent DA merger; and immediate release of additional stagnation increments. The association wasalso seeking an entry-level salary of Rs 50,000 per month (from Rs 20,000 at present) for management trainees and commensurate rise in emoluments at senior levels.

Demanding a competitive salary, Mr Mirchandani said that multinational and private sector companies were poaching on talented manpower in the sector. ONGC, which is largely a technical organisation, has lost almost 1,000 people in the last two years.

Disruptions and losses

The Petroleum Minister, Mr Murli Deora, too had appealed to the officers of State-owned oil companies to call off their agitation, as the Government was considering all their demands sympathetically.

If the officers had gone ahead with their proposed strike, the first to be affected would have been the aviation sector. The halt on aviation refuelling would have cost the exchequer around Rs 200 crore per day. Besides this, the association said that work at the refining facility and production platform of ONGC would also have stopped. The impact of the shutdown at the refining facility would be felt 12 hours later, an OSOA member said.

According to estimates, a strike in the oil sector could mean a loss of Rs 164.5 crore on oil sales of 5.22 lakh barrels a day and Rs 17.28 crore on gas sales of 54 million standard cubic metres a day. Loss of production for value-added products (naphtha, high speed diesel, kerosene) is expected at 9,300 tonnes per day.

Related Stories:
Oil sector officers to go on strike from May 31
Oil PSU officers threaten indefinite strike

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 31, 2006)
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