BPCL employees to protest ‘privatisation’

Unions warn they will take to the streets as government has not explained reasons

At least seven labour unions of the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) on Monday registered their opposition to the possible privatisation of the profit-making public sector oil and gas company, warning that they were ready to take their protest to the streets.

“We have been hearing a lot of news about the privatisation of the company. There is lack of clarity on the impact of this move on employees as well as on the company’s financial condition. It is one of the country’s best profit-making companies and the government has issued no clarification regarding the reasons behind this move,” said Kishore Nair of Bharat Petroleum Technical and Non-Technical Employees Association, addressing a press conference.

Nationalist Congress Party Member of the Legislative Assembly Dr. Jitendra Awhad said the Central government is moving ahead with the privatisation plan so that Reliance Industries and Saudi petrochemical giant Saudi Aramco can buy BPCL. “The total assets of the company are around ₹3.60 lakh crore. There are 12,600 employees whose future will be at stake. The move is aimed only at benefiting the friends of the Central government. The government must come out with a clarification at the earliest,” said Dr. Awhad.

Pandurang Tikam of the Petroleum Workmens Union said a similar idea had emerged in 2003 when the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee was prime minister but it could not go through as the Act under which BPCL was formed required Parliament’s approval. “This government has repealed the requirement of parliamentary approval in 2016,” said Mr. Tikam. In 2003, the BPCL unions had called a nationwide strike for three days against the move, and it had received a 100% response, he said. The unions on Monday clarified that they will protest the move. “We are thinking of an all-India convention, wherein we will discuss the protest with our colleagues in different cities. There could be a protest march or dharna if the government decides to move ahead,” Mr. Tikam said.

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Printable version | May 24, 2020 5:32:44 PM |

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