‘Sorry for the inconvenience. The petrol bunks will now be open from 9 am to 6 pm’ — posters like these are displayed at various bunks in the city as the dealers across India have decided to operate on a single-shift basis as a mark of protest from today.
Though vehicle owners will get adhered to the new timings in due course of time, there is fear among some of the employees who work in the various petrol bunks about downsizing the staff.
However, the dealers feel it is too early to talk on the issue because the single shift system has to be set in place. Dr Ajay Kumar of Sathys Service Station said, “The decision was taken by the Akhila Karnataka Federation of Petroleum Traders to cut cost because of the recent increase in price of petrol and diesel which has deteriorated our commission.
We have been demanding a higher share of revenue for each litre of fuel sold at each outlets. But it has fallen on deaf ears. Also, the product contains ethanol that causes evaporation, which is also a loss to us. Considering all the factors, we have to curtail the expenses.” As for the employees who are currently in fear of downsizing, Ajay states, “We have to wait and watch as we don’t have a clear picture from the officials. Right now we are showing our solidarity and we are not immediately thinking of cutting down staff members. Ours is a 24-hour petrol bunk and I have people working with me for the past 10 years. They don’t even know any other job other than working as fuel-fillers. So cutting down staff members just to reduce expenses will never be an option. We have to think over it and we can only work around the system.”
The employees at Sai Petrol Bunk on Kasturba road are confident that their boss will look after them. “I have been working in bunk for the past 20 years and I don’t know any other work. As of now, we have been told about the single shift from today but nothing about downsizing. My boss here has always been supportive. I am sure he will take care of us,” said V Rao.
M Raju, supervisor of the same bunk feels that they are caught between the government companies and dealers. “We are not really aware of what is happening at these big meetings. But at the end of the day, we only request them to think of the employees,” he adds.
Prasanna, who is a manager working at a bunk in JP Nagar for the past 13 years says, “We don’t have a correct picture as of now but we have been told that we should start with the single shift. This is done because the dealers demands have not been met. Hope the protest is called off in a day or two and they find a permanent solution. Otherwise it will only lead to problems for the public.”
Chandra Gowda, fuel-filler and money collector at the bunk has been assured by his owner that there will not be any reduction in staff.
“As of now we have been asked to work for lesser number of hours,” he says.