Oil PSU officers to be on strike from Jan 7


New Delhi : Public sector oil firm executives will strike work indefinitely from January 7 against the “minuscule wage hikes” approved by the Government.

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The strike may cripple fuel supplies and do irreparable damage to oilwells as executives said the Government had “betrayed their trust” while approving the wage hike last month.

The Oil Sector Officers Association, an amalgamation of officers’ unions of 14 state-run oil firms, said the wage hike approved by the Government last month worked out to Rs 3,989 per month at the entry level and Rs 2,217 at the highest level.

“We have been left with no option but to resort to a strike because of a series of betrayals. We have time and again been told that our demands were being considered but the end result is there for all to see,” OSOA President Amit Kumar said.

The Government has hoodwinked the public by saying the hike was up to 200 per cent but in effect the increase was only 17 per cent, according to the association. The hike that is being talked about is at the basic pay level and when calculated after merging dearness allowance (DA), the net pay hike was minuscule, the association added.

Kumar said the Government is citing economic recession as an excuse to deny appropriate wage hikes. “But will they consider revising pay scales when the economy turns around in one to one and a half years? No. Our wages will be fixed for the next 10 years.” The new wages are to be effective from January 2007 and “the arrears that I will be entitled to are only Rs 8,435 as the net increase is minimal”, Kumar said.

PSUs that have a paying capacity like the ones in the oil sector had sought to be grouped in the ‘A ‘ category so that their wages can be decided in accordance with their profitability. But the Government turned down even this demand.