Govt weighs job protection to BPCL staff for 3-5 years post-privatisation

P Manoj Mumbai | Updated on July 29, 2020

Marks a departure from the one-year job guarantee offered in earlier deals

The government is weighing a plan to give job protection to employees of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) for three to five years post-privatisation as the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicks off the biggest asset-sale drive yet of state-run firms, starting with the oil refiner, to raise revenues to bridge the fiscal deficit.

The strategic disinvestment deals completed so far have a one-year lock-in period for employees: there will be no retrenchments/lay-offs for one year after the share purchase/sale agreement is signed.

A longer job guarantee period is being considered with the aim of diluting workers’ resistance to the deal, a government source said.


“This is not the type of disinvestment/privatisation deal that has happened so far involving small, struggling public sector undertakings,” the government source said.

BPCL currently has more than 11,200 employees on its rolls.

The move to consider a longer job protection period comes in the wake of opposition from workers union to a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) floated by the refiner a few days ago.

This is the fourth such VRS rolled out by the company as per the guidelines framed by the Department of Public Enterprises, since 2011.

“This is nothing new,” the source said.

“We have no intention to part with qualified persons during the latest round of VRS unless he is 58 years old,” the government source said.

“The early retirement scheme is targeted at workers in the marketing and refinery divisions whose qualifications are very low and who will not be able to adjust to a new private management,” the source said.


The government has sought initial bids to privatise BPCL by selling its 52.98 per cent stake to a strategic buyer. Potential bidders have time till July 31 to file their expression of interest.

Published on July 29, 2020

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