Talks remain inconclusive; ‘situation might turn bad if the strike continues’

The strike by truck drivers owing allegiance to the CITU-affiliated IOC Bottling Plant Drivers Association of the Indian Oil Corporation’s LPG bottling plant at Inamkulathur in the outskirts of the city continued for the fourth day on Friday, affecting supplies from the unit.

The lorry drivers are on a strike since Tuesday demanding the reinstatement of four drivers who were suspended in November following a dispute over bonus payment.

40,000 refills

The IOC bottling plant, producing about 40,000 LPG refills a day, caters to the requirement of Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Perambalur and Ariyalur districts. The IOC has a contract with the LPG Cylinder Lorry Owners Association to transport the cylinders from the unit.

The drivers are also demanding the reinstatement of the five others who were said to have been denied work by the owners recently for going on leave.

Agreement elusive

R.Raja, district secretary, CITU, said no agreement was reached during talks held on Friday between representatives of the union, owners associations and Labour Department officials.

The owners have agreed to reinstate the five drivers suspended recently for going on leave but there was no agreement on the reinstatement of the four others. The talks are slated to continue on Saturday, he said.

With production at the plant being since Tuesday, supply of LPG refills to neighbouring districts such as Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Perambalur have been affected.

However, supply to the city has not been affected greatly as 16 lorries operated by drivers owing allegiance to the Anna Thozhir Sangam were ferrying loads, LPG distributors said. But the situation will turn bad if the strike continued, they added.