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PSUs' performance carrot invites stick

india Updated: Oct 12, 2006 22:51 IST
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Protest against the implementation of the 'performance linked incentive scheme' (PLIS) in two public sector petroleum companies is gathering momentum.

In September, section of workers of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) had struck work in protest against, what they called a discriminatory PLIS. They argued that while executives were paid "lavish" amounts under the scheme, workers were paid "meagre" sums.

Agitation against the scheme has continued since the strike. Now, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has called for a national convention of unions active in four oil PSUs—workers' unions of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) have been included—to discuss the issue and ways to take the protest forward. The convention is to be held in the Capital on November 3.

  Max paid to executiveMinimum paid Max paid to worker  Minimum paid

 BPCL Rs 172000 Rs 57, 600 Rs 31,680 Rs 20,880

 HPCL Rs 180000  Rs 52000   Rs 30000  Rs 18250

In a note, which has been circulated among trade unions across the country, the CITU has put forward three arguments against the implementation of PLIS in HPCL and BPCL.

"Managements of both companies unilaterally decided to implement the scheme without discussing the issue with the workers. This happens only in the petroleum sector. In all other big PSUs, like Steel Authority of India and Coal India, similar schemes are bilaterally discussed and the amounts to be paid are decided," said CITU national secretary, Swadesh Dev Roye.

The second argument, Roye added, is linked to the first. "Since, the management of the two companies implement the scheme unilaterally, the balance is heavily tilted in favour of the executives. Workers are denied the right to collective bargaining. So, while the maximum amount paid to a HPCL executive was 1.8 lakh, the maximum paid to a worker was Rs 30,000," Roye added.

Thirdly, the scheme is linked to the net profit earned by the oil company. It means that a company earning more profit would pay more to its employees. Roye said, "Here again serious distortions are seen. ONGC (2005-06) earned Rs 14,431 crores as net profit. Under PLIS, the maximum it paid to an executive was Rs 1,49,060. BPCL, in the same period, earned Rs 130 crore as net profit. And the maximum paid to an executive was Rs 1.72 lakh. What is the rationale?"

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