Workforce crisis looms at ONGC as staff retire

Vol 24, PW 15 (17 Jun 21) People & Policy

ONGC workers in the western offshore are overworked and stretched to their limit, and yet management is not doing enough to recruit more workers to relieve them.

That's the message Pradeep Mayekar, general secretary of the ONGC Karmachari Sanghatana (ONGC Employees Federation), has sent to the acting chairman and managing director Subhash Kumar and other directors and officials in a scathing letter on May 28 (2021). In his three-page assault, Mayekar warns the situation is set to worsen, with 300 employees likely to retire in the next eight months by January 31 (2022).

Mayekar demands the recruitment of full-time ONGC staff to replace those retiring, a clear warning for ONGC not to take the easy option and hire outside workers on short-term contracts. "You must be aware that 400 employees have superannuated from January 1 (2020) to May 31 (2021) from the Mumbai region from both executive and non-executive cadres," writes Mayekar.

"More employees are superannuating every month, and it's needless to elaborate that this is generating a huge manpower crisis in ONGC's Mumbai region." Speaking to this report, Mayekar said ONGC has more than 6500 people working in the Mumbai region, but that around 40 people retire every month; he said the figure is increasing worryingly.

In his letter, Mayekar writes that the only recruitment that ONGC has done over the past 17 months happened in September (2020), when it hired 40 staff to fill non-executive positions. "Since then, not a single employee has been recruited against (to replace) retired employees," writes Mayekar.

"Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, death cases have further fuelled this manpower crisis, which in turn creates a vacuum, and there is an acute shortage of manpower in both executive and non-executive cadres in Mumbai region."