Triumphant workers end strike at IOC bottling plant Durgapur

CPI(M) leader Pankaj Roy Sarkar talking with the jubilant workers outside the IOC bottling plant gate in Durgapur

Durgapur News Desk, 15 June 2017: The seven-day old strike at the Indian Oil Corporation bottling plant in Durgapur came to a triumphant end yesterday after the demand of the contractual workers engaged in loading and unloading of LPG cylinders onto trucks were met.

One might remember that contractual workers started a cease-work at the Indian Oil Corporation bottling plant in Durgapur since 07 June 2017, after the private contractors engaged by the company in a rather drastic and inhuman move decided to retrench 85 labourers above 50 years of age.

The bottling plant had a total of 112 contractual workers engaged in loading and unloading of cylinders. The workers, employed by 28 private contractors, had been observing a “go-slow” programme for the past four months, demanding a 30 per cent hike in their daily wage of 925 INR.

Ever since the contractual workers who are not affiliated to any political organisation as such started the strike, CPI(M) Durgapur II Zonal Committee Secretary Pankaj Roy Sarkar and several other prominent CITU leaders visited the IOC’s LPG bottling plant site and had a talk with the agitating contractual workers. After seeing the notice, based on which the above 50 year old workers were retrenched, Mr. Sarkar alleged that the notice is absolutely false as it does not contains any signature or seal. They assured the workers for all sorts of support and cooperation.

Even Deputy Mayor of Durgapur, Amitava Bandopadhyay expressed his displeasure at such a move of retrenchment.

On the back of fear that if the problem is not resolved and work doesn’t resume quickly then LPG cylinder supply to seven South Bengal districts – Burdwan West, Burdwan East, Birbhum, Bankura, Purulia, Hooghly and Murshidabad will face considerable difficulties, the administration also took keen interest in resolving the issue. Sankha Santra, the SDO Durgapur, who is also the ADM (Development) of the newly formed Burdwan (West) district personally convened several rounds of tripartite talks.

After several rounds of meeting held since day one of the strike, the private contractors engaged by IOC finally agreed to take back those retrenched, except eight who are above 60 years of age. However all the statutory retirement benefits will be paid to these eight who crossed the superannuation age.

The success of the movement brought much cheer among the working class and labour unions in the industrial belt of Durgapur, a town with a golden history of worker’s movement since early sixties.

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