Indane cooking gas consumers could heave a sigh of relief as the more than a fortnight-long strike by the contract labourers at the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.’s (IOCL) LPG bottling plant at Inamkulathur on the outskirts of the city came to an end on Thursday.
Contract labourers at the bottling plant have been on strike since March 20, seeking additional staff for the second filling line that was commissioned recently, kicking off a huge backlog in supply of refills in Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, and Nagapattinam districts.
The contract labourers were demanding an increase in their numbers to 80 from existing 74 following the commissioning of the second filling line.
IOCL had maintained that the workforce at the unit was in line with its national benchmark and its other bottling units were working with the same workforce as here. The growing backlog, with nearly one lakh consumers on the waitlist in Tiruchi district alone, had prompted the district administration to ask the IOCL to ensure supplies to tide over the situation.
IOCL sources confirmed resumption of filling operation at the unit with the contract labourers returning to work on Thursday. But they were tight-lipped on purported agreement reached with the workers union. The workers are said to have returned to work under a temporary arrangement for a month when the IOCL will provide 80 workers.
Sources in the IOCL said it would take about a month to clear the backlog ad supply cylinders on demand.
Capt. R. S. Jagadeesan, president, All India Indane Distributors Association (Tamil Nadu and Puducherry), told The Hindu that although it might take about a month normalise supply, the pressure would ease in about 10 days. “It depends on how fast we deliver the refills to the consumer. We will be able to clear most of the backlog within the city in the next 10 days, though it may take longer in rural areas, where delivery boys have to travel long distances,” he said.