Petrol pumps may go on strike Aug 28
The association of owners and workers of filling stations and fuel tank lorries yesterday said they would stage a token strike, unless their 12-point demands -- including checking of incessant hike in road rentals and raising of sales commission -- are met by August 28.
Mohammad Nazmul Hoque, convener of Bangladesh Petrol Pump O Tank Lorry Malik Shramik Oikya Parishad, read out the demands at a press briefing held at a hotel in the capital.
The strike will be observed from 6:00am till 3:00pm on August 28, when filling stations will remain closed and tank lorries will not transport petroleum products, Nazmul said.
As their next course of action the association might announce an indefinite strike, unless the government resolves the long overdue issues in the sector soon, he said, adding that five years have passed and too little were done since they made a 13-point demand to the government in 2011.
“Instead of solving any problem, newer problems have been created, which made it much more difficult for the owners and workers to survive in the sector.”
In March, April and June this year the association had petitioned to the government bodies concerned -- including the ministry of power, energy and mineral resources -- for holding discussions over the problems the sector has been facing. Despite their subsequent efforts, the authorities have paid no heed, said Nazmul.
One of their prominent demands has been is to assign a separate category for fuel tank lorries, which are now categorised under trucks and covered vans, he added.
Even though they transport high priority items such as fuel and other petroleum products, their tank lorries -- categorised under trucks and covered vans -- are forced to refrain making from deliveries whenever there's a strike called in the transport sector, argued Nazmul.
A few other items in their list of demands include initiating accidental insurance coverage of a minimum of Tk five lakh for each lorry worker, bringing an end to police harassment of tank-lorry workers and prohibiting sale of fuel from private refineries.
Currently pump owners receive Tk 1.7 in sales commission for a litre of diesel and Tk 3.6 for petrol or octane, Nazmul, also president of Bangladesh Petrol Pump Owner's Association, told reporters after the press briefing.
He also said the government has recently multiplied the rate of road rental for fuel stations beyond a reasonable level.
There are nearly 5,500 filling stations and over five lakh petroleum distributors and agents in the country, Nazmul told reporters.
Aktar Hossain, member secretary, and Mohammad Shahjahan, joint convener of the association, were present, among others, at the press conference.