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Three-day oil sector strike in India ends

About 55,000 white collar workers at state-run oil companies called off a three-day strike late Friday, the petroleum minister said, after causing a severe fuel shortage in India.
/ Source: The Associated Press

About 55,000 white collar workers at state-run oil companies called off a three-day strike late Friday, the petroleum minister said, after causing a severe fuel shortage in India.

News reports said the strike left nearly 60 percent of gas pumps dry and delayed flights across the country.

"Good sense has prevailed and I'm glad they have withdrawn," Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said. He gave no other details.

There was no immediate comment from the office workers, who had been demanding salary hikes.

The Petroleum Ministry had said earlier Friday that the workers — who were employed at state-run oil companies including the Indian Oil Corporation and the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. — could be fired if the strike continued.

The fuel shortage held up harried drivers waiting an hour or more to fill up at gas stations that were still open, and some gas stations rationed fuel.

The absence of oil executives who oversee operations at airports around the country also caused delays on more than 150 flights Thursday, The Times Of India newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, another strike involving nearly five million truckers who are demanding fuel price cuts and toll charge waivers continued.

Nearly 70 percent of goods in India are transported by trucks, but India's transport ministry said in a statement Friday that there has been no impact on the supply of essential items.