OGDCL employees protest against decision: Asim orders service regularisation of 302 PPP tenure trainees
ISLAMABAD: On his first day in office, Prime Minister`s Adviser on Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain is reported to have ordered regularization of service, with backdated financial benefits, of 302 management trainees inducted into the country`s largest petroleum producer, Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL), amid a strong protest by regular officers and employees.
More than 400 officers and employees of the OGDCL held a protest meeting outside the company`s headquarters on Tuesday. They threatened to switch off all oil and gas fields and said the adviser`s decision would open a floodgate of inductions of thousands of new management trainees into the company`s Oil and Gas Training Institute (OGTI).
They said hundreds of young people were trained at the OGTI each year and they were given stipends but that did not mean they had earned the right to regular service.
This reporter tried to contact Dr Hussain to confirm if he had issued the order and for his comments on OGDCL workers` protest, but his calls were not answered.
It may be mentioned that at a news conference on Monday, Dr Asim Hussain had announced that he would uphold merit and transparency in appointments of managing directors and board members of oil and gas companies to achieve a turnaround in the energy sector.
The protesting workers said that regularisation of service with backdated benefits of 302 people trained by OGTI was another move by the PPP government to kill the only golden goose that had been sustaining the country`s economic growth for decades.
They said other such attempts included proposed sale of Qadirpur Gas field and Zin Block in Balochistan, handing over of some smaller fields to `an LPG mafia` and recent pressures on the company to surrender its fields to Sindh.
These people had been doing other jobs and running their businesses for so long and were being preferred over existing regular employees, they said. The President of OGDCL Collective Bargaining Agent (CBA) Association, Chaudhry Akram, said the induction of the trainees into regular cadre was a political move which would destroy the company and turn it into loss-making entities like Pakistan Railways and Pakistan International Airlines.
Addressing a protest meeting of OGDCL regular employees who were also raising slogans against the government for ignoring them for promotion, Chaudhry Akram said that management trainees were not sacked employees and, therefore, their induction was against the rules.
He said that trainees had been inducted as EG-3 (executive grade-3), creating an embarrassing situation for regular employees who were waiting for their promotions.
He said the move would open a Pandora`s box and all those who had received training from the OGDCL would start demanding their induction into the organisation.
He said that Management Trainees had received training from the OGDCL training institute in 1996 and they were not employees of the company.
Mr Akram said that more than Rs141 billion of OGDCL receivables were pending under the circular debt and gas supply to Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) and Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) would be stopped if dues were not paid. He alleged that tax authorities had taken away Rs7 billion from OGDCL against receivables it had never collected from different clients on account of gas and crude oil supply.
Mr Akram said that OGDCL had invested billions of rupees in dormant fields, including Jhakhro, Nur, Bangla and Sara West and, therefore, they should not be handed over to Sindh.
He said that Sanjaro field had been developed 19 years ago and Kunner Pasakhi (KP) seven years ago, but some lobbies had created hurdles in the commissioning of these fields.
“An artificial crisis has been created by not developing these fields that could produce 500 mmcfd of natural gas and 450 metric tons of LPG a day”.