Petrol pump dealers under the United Petrol front (UPF) who had decided to go on a day-long strike on October 13 to protest against the government over their demands not being fulfilled have now squared off the idea after state-owned oil firms warned them of stern action including cancellation of contracts if the strike happened. More than 54,000 petrol pumps across the country would have remain shut if the strike went through but the latest development suggests that it’s not going to happen now.

The idea of the protest was capitalised in a meeting of UPF, where the petrol dealers decided to voice their disagreement over unfair marketing guidelines and penalties and the inclusion of petrol products under the current GST regime. The petrol traders had also expressed their disapproval over the Daily Price Mechanism and stated that the move is of benefit to nor the public or the traders. Dealers also mentioned that due to the strict penalty rules, they fail to even manage minimum wages to their employees.

“The director marketing of the three oil companies had appealed to us not to go on strike and so we are withdrawing the strike on their appeal,” said Ajay Bansal, President of All India Petroleum Dealers Association.

The oil companies appealed for calling off the strike and issued a warning to the dealers that if they don’t adhere to the order, it will result in the cancellation of their respective dealerships. The petrol traders had decided to shut their services on October 13 preventing any fuel sale or purchase on the day, they had also planned to go on an indefinite strike if their demands were not met.

Chairman of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Sanjeev Singh called the strike decision unjustified and said that the fuel dealers demand revision in their margins every 6 months. “We have agreed on a yearly revision and to now demand a half-year revision is a bit unfair,” said, Singh. Petrol, diesel, natural gas, crude oil and ATF are not included under GST and despite knowing that the dealers resort to strikes, he added.

Singh also stated that, If they (petrol dealers) go ahead with the strike, the state government will be forced to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA ) and take over the petrol pumps under its control.

UPF, the umbrella organisation of all three nationwide organisations of all petrol dealers — Federation of All India Petroleum Traders, All India Petroleum Dealers Association and Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers in a meeting decided to abort services at petrol pumps throughout the nation if their demands are not met.