IOC staff aged 50 plus threatened with lay-offs

Vol 23, PW 9 (12 Mar 20) People & Policy

As fears of privatisation loom, IndianOil has amended its early retirement rules for employees as a punishment for inefficiency or misconduct.

IndianOil employees are concerned by a five-page inter-office memo issued on February 27 by Sugam Prasad, IOC executive director employee relations and Corporate Social Responsibility, entitled Amendment in Conduct, Disciplinary and Appeal Rules, 1980. Prasad lists changes to rules regarding early retirement, medical unfitness, the acceptance of gifts, and speculation on stocks and shares.

"The aim is to optimise the workforce by increasing efficiency levels," a source tells us. He explains IOC is under pressure as the government goes through with privatising Bharat Petroleum.

"Once privatised, BPCL may capture significant market share through competitive pricing of fuels," he says. "So IOC is trying to make its workforce more efficient."

Under the amended rules any officer over the age of 50 or who has served for more than 30 years and is considered to be inefficient or whose integrity is in question can be prematurely retired with at least three months notice. Inefficiency, described by the memo, will be evaluated on the basis of appraisal ratings falling in the bottom 5% of officers in the same grade, twice in the previous five years.

Integrity will be determined on the basis of two proven instances of misconduct over a career. On March 31 (2019) IOC had 33,498 staff, of which 17,704 are officers, according to its website.