September 13, 2020

BPCL Strike A Pointer to Growing Resistance against BJP: CITU

THE Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) congratulated the workers of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) for two days strike action on September 7-8, against the privatisation of BPCL and the BJP government and called it a pointer to growing resistance against the BJP government.

Tapan Sen, general secretary of CITU noted that BPCL was formed by taking over a multinational company through an Act of Parliament in 1976. There had been moves by the BJP government during 2002-2003 to privatise BPCL which could be resisted through united struggles including three days strike by the workers along with solidarity support by the entire petroleum sector workers’ movement. Consequent upon formation of BPCL in PSU, the company has hugely augmented its refining capacity, network of LPG terminals/bottling plants and expanded its marketing network throughout the country through huge public investments thereby expanding its asset base to a value of more than Rs 9.5 lakh crore which are all national property, he said.

“The BJP government is now hell bent in handing over this consistently profit-making company to its chosen private player through strategic sale route, almost at a throw away price (may be around Rs 60000 crore) despite the fact that BPCL has been regularly and handsomely contributing to national exchequer through dividend and taxes,” he said and added that the very idea of privatising BPCL is against the national interest and designed for handing over the monopoly control of petroleum sector to the particular private corporate player of its choice. 

Talking about the effects of the two-day strike, Tapan Sen said that the BPCL refineries located in Kochi and Mumbai were in hundred per cent strike on both the days and only the executives joined duty. Most of the LPG bottling plants of BPCL in eastern, north-eastern and in northern India were virtually shut down. In the marketing segment of BPCL in northern, eastern India and to a great extent in western India, marketing activities have been severely affected on both the days owing to strike.

“There have been widespread solidarity demonstrations in numerous establishments by the respective unions throughout the country, particularly in the petroleum sector. All the Central Trade Unions and Federations have also extended their full support to the strike struggle of BPCL workers,” he said.

The strike was preceded by a three days strike by coal workers in July last against the same destructive privatisation, and is going to be succeeded by indefinite strike by defence production workers in Ordnance Factories from October 12. Tapan Sen said that these are pointers towards the gradually developing resistance struggles by the working class against the desperate bid of selling the national assets and destroying national productive capacity, by the BJP government.

The CITU called upon all concerned to carry forward the united struggle to further height. It gave a call to all progressive and patriotic sections of society to oppose the BJP government’s measures to hand over national wealth to their corporate cronies, and support the workers’ struggles against such attempts.