IndianOil staff fear 'job losses' after HR memo

Vol 23, PW 3 (28 Nov 19) People & Policy

IndianOil's human resources department has struck fear into the hearts of employees with an ominous six-page memo asking staff for regular performance updates leading to speculation of imminent lay-offs.

Executive director UP Singh released the memo on November 8 to all four regional service heads and different state heads requesting detailed employee "utilisation" reports by December 1. Singh starts the memo on a cautionary note.

"You may kindly be aware that various companies in our country are passing through a critical phase and so is our company too," he says. "The need for a company like ours is to be agile and productive so we can remain relevant and competitive."

Worrying words if you consider the government's current efforts to privatise fellow state-owned oil marketing company Bharat Petroleum and the mass lay-offs BPCL employees may soon face. Singh seeks to calm concerns by adding: "Unlike a private company, our company which is a PSU, hardly resorts to extreme steps like laying off, firing and 'tail management' even during the most difficult of times."

Contacted by this report, an IndianOil source dismisses that the memo is related to privatisation of BPCL. "There is nothing like that," he says.

"It's a routine matter." But another company source believes the notice can't be ignored and is linked to the BPCL privatisation programme.

"There is something on because of the government’s disinvestment plans," he says. "IndianOil is trying to streamline."