Dealers called off the nationwide 24-hour petrol pump strike, scheduled for Friday, 13th October 2017, after state-owned oil companies issued an appeal and also threatened to cancel their contracts if they went ahead with it.
The United Petroleum Front, with over 54,000 dealers under its umbrella, had announced the strike to express their demands for revision of dealer margins every 6 months, bringing fuel under GST, resolution of ethanol blending and manpower issues, resolution of transportation issues, and the abolition of the zero tolerance policy of short-changing customers.
The intent of the strike was also to express concerns against the new marketing guidelines of discipline that deal with automated pumps operating in manual mode with no authorisation, non-payment of minimum wages to employees, and non-provision of clean bathrooms. The UPF had also threatened to cease purchase and operations from 27th October if the government and the oil companies did not meet their demands.
However, the director of marketing of three oil companies had appealed to the dealers to withdraw the strike. Along with the appeal, the oil companies also issued a warning of strict disciplinary action.
According to the Chairman of Indian Oil Corp. Ltd., Sanjiv Singh, the petrol pump strike wasn’t justified in light of the fact that the oil companies had already accepted the dealers’ demands along with raising their commissions just a few weeks back. The recently fixed commissions also factored in the prevailing minimum wage for employees. Singh stated that it was not acceptable that oil companies paid the minimum wages but dealers have not passed it down to the employees. At present, the revision of commissions is an annual affair. As for bringing fuel under GST, Singh merely stated that it is well known that fuel will not be under its ambit.