The Kerala High Court on Friday restrained five trade unions in the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), Kochi, from participating in the nationwide strike on March 28 and 29 called by a joint forum of trade unions.

Considering a plea filed by the BPCL challenging the trade unions in the company joining the protest, Justice Amit Rawal issued an interim order restraining the unions from going on strike according to their call from 7 am on March 28 to 7 am on March 30.

In his plea, BPCL Chief General Manager in-charge (HR) Kurian P Alappatt had said that under the provisions of Section 22 of the Industrial disputes Act, 1947, strikes and lock-outs in respect of a public utility service are prohibited during the pendency of any conciliation proceedings.

The apprehension of the petitioner was that since the BPCL is a public utility service, owing to the strike notice given by the trade unions, the functioning of its various units would be seriously impacted and the intervention of the court was sought.

Cochin Refineries Employees' Association, Cochin Refineries Workers' Association, General and Construction Workers' Union, Cochin Refineries General Workers Congress and Kerala Petroleum And Gas Workers Union had given notices to the BPCL management informing that they are going on strike on March 28 and 29.

A joint forum of central trade unions has given a call for a nationwide strike on March 28 and 29, to protest against the Union government's policies affecting workers, farmers and people.

With PTI inputs