Telegraph India - 6/5/2006
The Oil Sector Officers’ Association (OSOA) today threatened to go on an indefinite strike from May 31 if the government does not give in to their demand for higher salaries.
“According to the January 11, 2000 MoU with the petroleum ministry, salaries and compensation of oil sector officers should have been raised from January 1, 2002. But that promise has not yet been kept,” OSOA convenor Ashok Singh said.
“The private sector is offering five times the PSU salaries to wean away talent. The ‘brain-drain’, if unchecked, would lead to a collapse of public sector firms,” he said.
OSOA, which represents one-third of the 130,000 workers in 12 PSU oil firms, including ONGC, Indian Oil, Oil India, Bharat Petroleum, GAIL and Hindustan Petroleum, had last gone on a strike on January 11, 2000. The strike had hit airline services but had lasted only four hours as the then petroleum minister, Ram Naik, had agreed to look into their demands.
Singh said petroleum secretary M.S. Srinivasan has written to the department of public enterprises, which governs wages of all PSUs, for a raise but no action has been taken. The entry-level package for management trainees should be raised from about Rs 4 lakh per annum to Rs 10 lakh or else “we would go on an indefinite strike from May 31”, he said.
Srinivasan, in his letter to department of public enterprises secretary Priyadarshi Thakur, had said, “The problem of stagnation among executives in oil PSUs is acute as many of them have not earned any annual increment after 2002”.
The association has demanded a revision of pay after every five years with effect from January 1, 2002, DA neutralisation with effect from January 1, 1996 instead of January 1, 1997 and 50 per cent DA merger with basic pay.
Srinivasan had said the entry of private sector in a big way in the oil and gas sector, poses a serious threat of migration of our trained people.