Managements of oil PSUs firms ask employees to desist from strike

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New Delhi, Nov 27 (UNI) The managements of the state-run oil companies asked their employees to desist from going on an indefinite strike planned from December 2, warning that strict action will be taken against them if they persist in doing so.

The tone for this was set by ONGC Chairman R S Sharma, who said that 70 per cent of its officials were not in favour of the strike called to seek a hike in wages and perks.

Others who viced concern in this regard, included IOC CMD Sarthak Behuria, Oil InDia CMD M R Pasrija and EIL CMD Mukesh Rohatgi.

While Mr Sharma issued a warning to the employees, others expressed unhappiness at the turn of events scrupulously avoiding a threat to their officers.

''If some of the officials go on strike, the management will be forced to take an unpleasant step against them,'' Mr Sharma said.

The Unions are divided as to whether they should strike work.

Earlier, Oil Sector Officers' Association (OSOA) had calld a strike, but withdrew the notice after Petroleum Minister Murli Deora enjoining upon them to do so as the government was considering a new pay package for them.

Ringing a different bell, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd's (HPCL) Management Staff Association Working President Uday Shankar said: ''we have not given any notice to go on strike and so we are not going on any strike.'' Unhappy with the raise in wages announced by the government, OSOA had earlier announced that over 50,000 officers in 14 state-run oil companies would go on an indefinite strike from December 2.

Mr Behuria told UNI: ''We are persuading the employees. Still we have three more days. Let's see what happens.'' He quoted Secretary in the Department of Public Enterprises as having said that each official will get an upward revision of 96 per cent of the Cost To Company (CTC). IOC has 12,000 officials, who if they go on a strike will paralyse the operations of the country's biggest Oil Marketing Company.

Add to this 2,400 employees of Engineers India Ltd and 1,200 employees of Oil India Ltd. This would lead to a colossal erosion of the nation's wealth.

Only yesterday, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora appealed to Oil Sector Officers' Association (OSOA) to call off its proposed strike, saying such an ''irresponsible step'' would disrupt fuel supplies and halt oil and gas production in the country.

To make its case, Petroleum Ministry brought out a white paper detailed the benefits from the new wage board. The paper says the wage board would give to the officers an hike ranging between Rs 4.5 to 8 lakh. The matter has to be cleared by the Cabinet.

UNI SBA MP SK KP2134

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