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Kerala High Court restrains BPCL trade unions from taking part in March 28, 29 strike

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  • The order issued by Justice Amit Rawal restrained trade unions from going on strike from 7 am on March 28 to 7 am on March 30
  • In its petition, the BPCL management had contended that strikes and lock-outs in respect of a public utility service are prohibited during the pendency of any conciliation proceedings

New Delhi: The Kerala High Court has issued an interim order on March 25, restraining five trade unions of disinvestment-bound Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) from taking part in a nationwide strike on March 28 and 29 called by a joint forum of trade unions. The order was issued by the High Court on a plea filed by BPCL, challenging the trade unions’ decision to take part in the nationwide protest. The order issued by Justice Amit Rawal restrained trade unions from going on strike from 7 am on March 28 to 7 am on March 30.

BPCL management contends strike call by trade unions

In his petition, BPCL Chief General Manager in-charge (HR) Kurian P Alapatt had said that under Section 22 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, strikes and lock-outs in respect of a public utility service are prohibited during the pendency of any conciliation proceedings. The BPCL management contended that since the oil PSU is a public utility service, the functioning of its various units would be seriously impacted due to the strike and sought the court’s intervention in the matter.

In a statement released on Saturday, CITU condemned the Kerala High Court decision, saying, "CITU registers its protest with indignation against the order of the Kerala High Court restraining the workers’ unions in Cochin Refinery, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), going for strike on 28 & 29th March in deference to the call of National Convention held on 11th November, 2021 at New Delhi organized by the Ten Central Trade Unions and scores of Industrial/Sectoral Federations/Associations against the anti-people and anti-worker policies of the Central government."

"It is ironic that the strike demands have nothing to do with the petitioner but pertain to the anti-national policies of the Central government to sell off Public Sector Enterprises like BPCL to the private sector in utter disregard of public interest," it added.

Backdrop

Cochin Refineries Employees’ Association, Cochin Refineries Workers’ Association, General and Construction Workers’ Union, Cochin Refineries General Workers Congress and Kerala Petroleum And Gas Workers Union had given notices to the BPCL management informing that they are going on strike on March 28 and 29. A joint forum of central trade unions has given a call for a nationwide strike on March 28 and 29, to protest against the Union government’s policies affecting workers, farmers and people.

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