Oil and gas trade unions in Oman call off planned strike
November 15, 2015 | 12:38 PM
by REJIMON K [email protected]

MUSCAT: Oil and gas sector trade unions in Oman have called off their planned strike later this month, citing the ongoing talks with a ministerial panel tasked with addressing concerns about the continuing layoffs in the oil and gas sector.

“We are already seeing the results of dialogues initiated by the ministerial committee formed by the Council of Ministers regarding the oil and gas sector layoffs. We welcome the initiative and as part of it, we are calling off the strike which was announced on October 27,” Saud Salmi, oil and gas trade union chairman, told the Times of Oman.

According to trade union leaders, since the oil price started to fall in the middle of 2014, around 1,000 Omani workers were laid off by companies citing lack of projects and a slump in oil prices.

As the layoffs continued, a ministerial committee was formed. Last Thursday, the committee came out with a statement after several meetings. The text of the agreement reads that the services of expatriate workers, whose contracts have expired, can be terminated or the scope of their contracts can be reduced.

“Appoint Omanis in place of expats at any other contracts won by the company while taking into consideration the fact that the experience and efficiency matches when it comes to the replacement programme,” the text added. According to government statistics, in 2013, there were 13,222 workers, including 2,809 expatriates, in the oil and gas sector.

However, the ministry’s report itself said these figures did not include the number of workers of the contracting and services in the oil and gas sector.

According to the ministry’s data, Oman posted a budget deficit of OMR2.68 billion ($6.97 billion) during the first eight months of this year, compared with a surplus of OMR205.7 million reported a year ago, because of lower oil export prices.

Oman posted a budget deficit of OMR1.92 billion since the first half of 2015, thus indicating a widening gap. According to a forecast by international traders, oil revenues are predicted to dip further by the end of this year.

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