Dibrugarh, March 17: The Assam Petroleum Mazdoor Union has called for an indefinite strike in the Northeast from Monday, threatening to stop loading and unloading petroleum products.
Ranjan Choudhury, the deputy general secretary of the union and veteran trade unionist, said they have been demanding minimum wages for the workers but the contractor and the company had not heeded their demands.
"There is no provident fund and medical insurance for the workers and they have been exploited for many years. According to the Assam state notification from the ministry of labour and employment 2015, a skilled worker should get Rs 13,500 and unskilled workers should get Rs 7,200 per month but they are not getting the minimum amount," said Choudhury.
The union said the strike would affect the oil companies because the loading and unloading of petroleum products would be halted.
"The oil companies got enough time to sort out the issues but they did not because they have a mutual understanding with the contractors," the trade union leader alleged.
The supply of petrol, diesel, kerosene and LPG will be affected due to the strike in the Northeast.
"On November 4 last year, a tri-party meeting was held between Indian Oil Company Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Company Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Company Ltd. They had assured us that the demands will be implemented from February this year but till date our problems have not been solved," Choudhury said.
He said while the BJP government was focusing on digitalisation, here the workers were still being paid in cash.
"The contractors manipulate them by giving less wages compared to what is shown in the records. We have asked them to pay our salaries through banks accounts, which makes the process more transparent," he said.
Choudhury said oil companies fetch crores of rupees each day and it was time that they looked after the employees who work hard and help them in their business.
The union has 5,000 employees under its banner who help the companies in loading and unloading from 2,500 trucks that are used to carry petroleum products.
It has welcomed the Centre's decision to make cashless economy a reality and believes that it can go a long way in helping the employees in various organisations.