Gujarat High Court Asks ONGC to Make 577 Workers Permanent

The Gujarat High Court on 12 April 2013, Friday ordered the state-own Maharatna Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) – Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) to treat 577 of its workers, who were appointed on tenure basis in 1999, as permanent employees from the date of their appointment.

It is worth mentioning that government on 16 November 2012 formally conferred the coveted ‘Maharatna’ status on state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).

The contract workers of ONGC in Gujarat has been demanding permanent employment as per directions given by the Ministry of Labour on December 21, 2004.

ONGC had employed 577 workers on contract for fixed term of four years in 1999. Later, they were appointed on tenure basis with a condition that their employment would be terminated after the attainment of 45 years of age.

When the contract was complete, these workers moved the labour court. The issue was in front of regional labour commissioner (RLC).

A single-judge bench of the Gujarat High Court comprising Justice Kalpesh Jhaveri passed a judgment in this regard while dismissing a petition of the company that challenged a Central Government Industrial Tribunal’s (CGIT’s) order in favour of the workmen.

In 2003, the workmen union had raised a demand to give these employees employment on permanent basis. And the CGIT, in 2011, ordered to give the 577 workmen employment on permanent basis by the ONGC. The ONGC had approached the HC against the CGIT order. However, the appeal has been dismissed by the HC with a direction to the ONGC to consider them as permanent staff since 1999.

About 226 contract workers of ONGC Ankleshwar stayed away from the interview procedure that was started on 27 December 2004.

On December 29, 2004, Janak Soni, joint secretary, Employees Mazdoor Sabha (EMS), an association of workers made a statement, “We are opposing the interview procedure initiated by ONGC authorities in better interests of workers. The labour ministry has already given direction to the Industrial Tribunal Court to bring the conclusion as soon as possible. We demand the permanent employment for the workers and other benefits available to the company workers. So far we have been successful in staying away from the interview schedules announced by the ONGC in Vadodara. “After working for over four years for ONGC we should get permanent employment. At the same time the HR policy of the organization also has not defined the role and term of the contract workers clearly. ”

Promoting and maintaining labou standard the key issue under various CSR guidelines in India. Various guidelines insure rights of the laours in workplace.

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