Petrol pump dealers on Wednesday called off their proposed day-long strike on Friday after state-owned oil firms warned them of strict action, including cancelling their contracts.
Various associations of petrol pump dealers had called the 24-hour strike against new Marketing Discipline Guidelines which impose stringent penalties for short-selling, operating automated pumps in manual mode without authorisation, non-provision of clean toilet and not paying minimum wages to employees.
“The director marketing of the three oil companies had appealed to us not to go on strike and so we are withdrawing the strike on their appeal,” said Ajay Bansal, President of All India Petroleum Dealers Association.
The United Petroleum Front, an umbrella organisation for the Federation of All-India Petroleum Traders, the All-India Petroleum Dealers Association and the Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers, had also threatened indefinite stoppage of purchase and sale operations from October 27.
While the oil companies did appeal for calling off the strike, they also warned petrol pump operators of strict action, including facing the prospect of cancellation of dealership contract.
Sanjiv Singh, Chairman of Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the country’s largest fuel retailer, on Tuesday stated that the strike call was totally unjustified as the oil firms have accepted all demands and raised dealers commission only a few weeks ago.
“It is unacceptable that they get minimum wages from oil companies and not give them to their employees,” he said.
The dealers commission fixed recently factors in the prevailing minimum wages. The dealers are demanding revision in their margin every six months and brining fuels under GST.
“We have agreed on a yearly revision and to now demand a half-year revision is a bit unfair,” Singh said, adding that it is well known that petrol and diesel along with natural gas, ATF and crude oil will be out of GST.
Singh said law provides for taking over the petrol pumps. “The state government can invoke ESMA, they can take over pumps and give to oil companies for operating…we can takeover petrol pumps. There are all such actions possible if they didn’t listen to reasoning and went ahead with the strike,” he added