BPCL Cochin refineries workers’ association issue strike notice against privatisation

P. Manoj Mumbai | Updated on September 29, 2020 Published on September 29, 2020

Cochin Refineries Workers’ Association has served a notice on Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) to go on strike from November 2 to 7, demanding, among other issues, that the move to privatise the state-run refiner be scrapped.

“The decision of the government to privatise BPCL is not agreeable to the unions. We demand that the privatisation move of BPCL should be stopped immediately,” M G Aji, general secretary of the Cochin Refineries Workers’ Association, wrote in the strike notice issued on Tuesday.

The Association is also seeking implementation of the long-term settlement on wages which is overdue in Mumbai and Kochi refineries, and the marketing division of BPCL.

The long-term wage settlement for the Mumbai refinery is pending since January 1, 2017; for the Kochi refinery from August 1, 2018; and for the marketing division from June 1, 2018.

“The long-term settlement on wages should be signed as per the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) guidelines and implemented with all past benefits,” the Association wrote in the strike notice.

The Association is also demanding return of six days of wages deducted for September 2020 by the company as a penal measure for going on strike previously, terming it as “illegal and unilateral”.

The Association said that the strike was held to realise the “legitimate demands of the unions” due to the refusal of the corporate management to negotiate with the all India recognised bargaining unions for a settlement, which tantamount to unfair labour practice.

“The penal deduction of wages should be returned to the workers immediately,” the Association demanded.

The BPCL management, according to the Association, is seeking the signed consent of the unions to secure a right for modifying the long-term wage settlement to be finalised shortly, in 2022.

The BPCL management has also asked the unions to agree for a right to amend the terms on wages, in line with the clauses stipulated in the share purchase agreement for privatisation of BPCL.

BPCL management’s move to implement the demands of the proposed purchaser of BPCL by introducing new counter demand clauses in the long-term wages offer also is not acceptable and should be withdrawn, the Association said.

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Published on September 29, 2020
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