Petrol pump dealers call off their October 13 strike

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Petrol pump dealers under the United Petrol front (UPF) who had made a decision to go on a day-long strike on October 13 to protest against the government over their demands not being fulfilled have now squared off the idea after state-owned oil firms warned them of stern action including cancellation of contracts if the strike happened.

"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, Aviation turbine Fuel (ATF) and crude oil will be out of GST. S Jaikrishnan, HPCL director (marketing), said dealers' commission, one of the demands, was increased on August 1.

A forum of three associations of dealers had declared on Saturday that about 54,000 retail fuel stations across India would remain shut on October 13 to protest the delay in the implementation of the pending agreement signed with the OMCs in November 2016, and to seek resolution of their other demands, such as higher marketing margin. All their demands have already been considered and addressed.

After petroleum dealers' unions called for a strike on October 13, state-run oil companies have chose to voice their view on it, saying the demand on the union "unreasonable".

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Issuing a soft warning to dealers, Canth said: "Let me remind you this is an essential commodity, so essential commodities Act is applicable here".

"Our guidelines are in the interest of the consumer and we will not put public into inconvenience during this festive season", he said.

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. The OMCs said the move was necessary to bring discipline among retailers and to protect consumers' interests. S Ramesh, director marketing at BPCL, said OMCs fail to understand why dealers are not happy with the new wages implemented for bunker attendants as the entire wage hike of up to 49 per cent has been absorbed by OMCs.

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