30,000 HPCL, BPCL employees on strike

Wednesday, 26 March 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: About 30,000 non-management workers of state-owned Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (HPCL) began a nationwide strike Tuesday to protest government plans to reduce equity in the firms.

The employees plan to hold a three-day strike despite directives from the Supreme Court Monday urging restraint.

With around 10 percent of the non-management staff reporting for work along with the management staff, which is not supporting the agitation, functioning of the two oil majors was unaffected, official spokespersons of the firms told IANS.

"The refineries are functioning normally and the stock flow of petroleum products is being maintained to ensure no supply disruption," an official said.

The two oil refining and marketing majors hold a 40 percent share in the retail market.

Opposition parties have sought a discussion on the disinvestment in Parliament and so the matter is temporarily on hold.

The government plans a strategic sale of 34.01 percent of its stake in HPCL, and plans a public offering for 35.2 percent of its 66.2 percent stake in BPCL.

Though the workers of both companies are to be offered a five percent stake at one-third of the market price, they have announced plans to intensify the strike once the government announces a firm timetable for disinvestment.
Source: IANS
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