Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Petroleum Mazdoor Union observes 72-hour strike

SILCHAR, Sept 9: The Barak Valley Zone of Assam Petroleum Mazdoor Union along with the whole of Northeast went on a 72-hour long strike since last morning in support of their six-point charter of demands which was submitted on February 16 to the higher authorities concerned based at Guwahati and Kolkata. Since no steps have been taken for discussion on the demands and even after observance of a day-long strike on June 8, the Union had no option but to resort to the agitation.

Barak Valley Union president Rafique Ahmed, while addressing a press-meet today, here outlined how the drivers and helpers of oil and gas tankers as well as LPG cylinder carrying trucks, petrol pump workers, gas agency workers engaged by various contractors and dealers have to work in miserable condition with meagre wages having no other facilities.

The ever rising prices of all the essential commodities have made it difficult for the poor workers to maintain themselves and their families. He regretted to say that the memorandum of the Union submitted to the Minister of Oil and Natural Gas, GOI and the meeting between oil managements and AITUC as well as All India Petroleum Workers’ Federation on July 20, 2007, failed to resolve the issue.

Rafique Ahmed added to say due to the implementation of merkur system, these workers except those of LPG have become victims of harassment as some of them have been black listed without any reason.

The lock system is also creating problem for the workers. In view of the above specified facts, the Union has demanded enhancement of monthly wages to a minimum level of Rs 10,000, payment of bonus, provident fund, gratuity, etc, testing of merkur at the time of loading and delivery, onus on tank drivers for any shortage of products, payment of compensation due to accident or attack by anti-social elements and the oil companies to take up the responsibility for payment of wages and other benefits of workers. THE SENTINEL

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