The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doubled wages end OIL workers’ mutiny

Dibrugarh, June 2: Disgruntled contract workers who had set four Oil India Ltd effluent pits and a gas pipeline ablaze while campaigning for higher wages today extracted a hike fractionally above 100 per cent.

The wage agreement, which has taken a contract worker’s daily earnings from Rs 121 to Rs 243, was inked by representatives of the contract workers’ union and the OIL management after five hours of haggling by both sides. The Dibrugarh district administration ' talks were held at the office of the assistant labour commissioner (central) ' was privy to the negotiations.

In accordance with the pact, provident fund deductions from the workers’ wages are to be henceforth deposited directly along with the company’s share. The old practice was to hand over the amounts to the contractors who engage workers for the company’s projects.

The pact comes in the wake of a directive from Dispur to the OIL management to settle its differences with the contract workers at the earliest. Apart from more than doubling wages, the OIL management agreed to increase the number of paid holidays for contract workers from six to 15 a year. The workers will also be entitled to all national holidays and those declared under the provisions of the Negotiable Instruments Act.

The company agreed to hike the monthly medical allowance of the workers to Rs 300 and fixed an exact amount as house rent allowance per month.

Representatives of three unions ' Assam Power Workers Union, Assam Oil Field Labourers Association and Oil India Workers Association ' signed the agreement on behalf of the 1,378 listed contract workers. The campaign for higher wages began four months ago, but it was only recently that the workers turned violent.

On May 22, the police caned workers and burst teargas shells when they went on the rampage at the group general manager’s office in Duliajan. At least 100 people, including senior civilian and police officials, were injured in the fracas.

The incidents of sabotage occurred in the next couple of days.

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