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Rediff.com  » Business » Proposed oil staff stir on Dec 2 loses steam

Proposed oil staff stir on Dec 2 loses steam

November 28, 2008 15:30 IST

Oil Sector Officers Association, which has called for an indefinite strike in oil PSUs from December 2 to press for higher wages, are increasingly getting isolated with executives from IOC, HPCL, EIL and OIL deciding against joining the stir.

OSOA, which claims to represent 55,000 executives of the 14 oil PSUs, on Tuesday announced an indefinite strike despite Delhi high court's November 17 restrain on it from going on strike till next hearing in February.

Petroleum secretary R S Pandey and heads of oil PSUs on Friday drew a blueprint of a contingency plan to keep refinering running, fuel stations operational and oil and gas flowing in the event of the strike, official sources said.

While Hindustan Petroleum was never part of the agitation called by OSOA, executives from Indian Oil, Engineers India and Oil India have since Thursday disassociated from the agitation as they felt it was not right to precepitate the crisis facing the country, the meet was informed.

Officers in gas utility GAIL India and Bharat Petroleum had assured that operations would not be allowed to be disrupted because of the agitation.

IOC chairman Sarthak Behuria said the government had given a liberal 40 to 200 per cent hike in wages and set up a Anomalies Committee to address any grievances.

"OSOA feels it is a meagre rise but according to me it is a good package."

Besides, pay scale there were numerous perks like housing and education loan, several allowances and reimbursements, which if computed would take cost-to-company into lakhs.

Some at the meeting also said, there was little difference between terrorists in Mumbai and OSOA as both want to hold the nation to ransom for their selfish reaons.

ONGC chairman R S Sharma said the strike call was unjust and 'the management will take recourse to unpleasant disciplinary steps if they persist'.

"A large section of officers is not in favour of the strike and it is only a small group of leaders of OSOA, which want to take the country to ransom," he said.

Sharma was critical of the OSOA leadership and condemned its persistence with the strike at this difficult hour. "The leadership of OSOA seems to be bent upon creating an economic disruption in the country."

HPCL chairman and managing director Arun Balakrishnan said the proposed wages were fair given the economic downturn globally.

"Anomalies, if any, can be settled at the level of the Anomalies Committee set up for the purpose."

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora on his part appealed to oil sector officers against such an "irresponsible step" that could disrupt fuel supplies and halt oil and gas production in the country.

His ministry brought out a white paper detailing benefits the recent Cabinet decision would give to the officers -- a Rs 4,50,000-800,000 increase in total annual emoluments for executives below Board level. A uniform increase of 30 per cent in basic pay plus dearness allowance and stagnation increment as on January 1, 2007, to all executives has been announced.

In addition to basic pay, performance-related payments have been made more flexible and limits enhanced substantially.

Instead of the earlier limit of 5 per cent of profit after tax, it has been enhanced to 5 per cent of profit before tax. PRP varies from 40 per cent for entry-level officers to 200 per cent of basic pay for chairmen.

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