Report from Shri Praveenkumar P, General Secretary, Cochin Refineries Employees’ Association – INTUC
A public meeting was organised at the Layam Ground in Thripunithura under the aegis of the Refinery Samrakshana Samithi, a joint organisation of trade unions cutting across political differences, to oppose the privatisation of the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited’ refinery at Kochi on 28 November 2021.
Shri Benny Behanan MP (INC), Com. Elamaram Kareem MP (CITU), Shri Muhammad Shiyas (Ernakulam DCC President INC), Shri KK Vijayakumar (BMS State Secretary), Com. M Swaraj (CPI M State committee), Com. Chandran Pillai (CITU), Shri KK Ibrahim Kutti (INTUC) and other leaders from political parties and trade unions and the heads of local self-governing bodies in the district participated and addressed the meeting.
The leaders said that the proposed privatisation of BPCL’s Kochi refinery would have long term consequences for other industries in the State. The refinery which was running in profit, was being privatised at a time when other public sector companies were in financial trouble and faced serious problems. The move to privatise the refinery was against the interests of the nation. The divestment would also result in massive job losses. Even permanent employees of the refinery were not getting their dues.
It is proposed to organise protests at the district and start levels against the privatisation of BPCL. A district-level hartal would be organised on March 23 next to protest against privatisation. A Raj Bhavan march was among the protest actions planned during February.