All works at Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited's Kochi refinery expansion site at Ambalamugal came to a standstill recently for the first time since the project works were launched in January 2011, threatening to derail the project that appeared till now to be chugging along well to meet the April 2017 deadline for producing Euro IV complaint fuel.
The ₹20,000-crore project has been hit by a labour dispute over long-term settlement on wages. Workers unions said the strike would continue soon and that they would launch an indefinite strike from February 10 if the settlement was not reached by then.
The last long-term wage settlement expired at the end of June 2016 and negotiations had been on since then. The workers are represented by the General and Construction Workers Union, CITU and Cochin Refinery General Workers Congress, INTUC.
The contractors, represented by Regional Contractors Association and BPCL Contractors Association, have demanded that some of the practices such as the ratio system and forced overtime should end.