The Assam Petroleum Mazdoor Union (APMU) on March 1 announced an indefinite strike from March 4 by all workers engaged in the carriage of LPG tankers and cylinders across Assam.
Further, the union demanded higher remuneration and other statutory benefits.
Speaking to the media, APMU general secretary Ramen Das said that the strike will stop the movement of all LPG-carrying tankers and cylinder trucks which will result in a shortage of fuel in the retail market.
The workers will stop loading and unloading at seven LPG plants in Assam -- six owned by the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and one by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), Das added.
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Das claimed that transporters engaged by oil marketing companies are "exploiting" the workers by giving "very little salary" without any benefits like provident fund, gratuity and Employees State Insurance Corporation. He said that a worker usually earns Rs 6,000-7,000 a month after working 12-15 hours a day. "No labour law is followed by the transporters and the companies also do not ensure that. Left with no option, we have decided to go on an indefinite strike from March 4 in Assam ... We requested transporters as well as oil PSUs to look into the matter, but they are ignoring it. This cannot go on," Das said.
IOC has sent letters to all transporters and distributors to amicably address issues raised by APMU so that there is no disruption in the supply of LPG supplies, the company said.
"The Assam government administration has also been informed about the said strike notice for suitable intervention on the issue," it added.
An IOC spokesperson said there is no direct relation between the LPG-carrying workers and the PSU company as it is the transporters' obligation to comply with the labour laws in relation to their staff.
"The said union represents the employees engaged and/or appointed by the transporters and distributors engaged by IOC and other oil companies. All transporters and distributors are independent business entities," he told PTI over email. The contracts between the IOC and the transporters or distributors do not have any relation with the employee engaged by the transporters or distributors, the official said. "Hence the notice of APMU to carry out agitational programmes throughout all the LPG plants situated in the state of Assam is beyond our comprehension," he added.
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