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5-06-2012 - Gulfnews

Oilfield strikers in Oman return to work

Some 400 Omani workers, who were dismissed for their role in a strike that threatened to cripple the sultanate's oil industry last week, were reinstated on the intervention of the country's elected Shura Council, the Arabic language daily Al Watan reported on Sunday.

An agreement to this effect was reached at an emergency session hosted by the Shura Council with representatives of the striking workers as well as a number of private firms providing contracting services to oil companies.

The paper reported that the private firms agreed to take back the dismissed employees after obtaining undertakings from them apologising for their actions and pledging not to breach labour laws again.

Shura Council Chairman Khalid Bin Hilal Al Maawali presided over the session. Also present were senior representatives of Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), the sultanate's top oil producer, the General Federation of Labour Unions of Oman, Ministry of Manpower, Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Public Authority for Social Insurance, among other oil industry stakeholders.

Wildcat action

With the reinstatement of the dismissed workers, a final sticking point in the resolution of the country's worst labour crisis to hit the critical oil industry has now been ironed out. The wildcat action had hit normal operations across much of Oman's oil and gas producing regions, hurting output and stoking fears of a revival of the widespread labour unrest that swept the Sultanate a year ago.

Meanwhile, a small group of Omani activists held a sit-in outside the offices of the Public Prosecution in the capital on Saturday to protest the continued detention of three well-known human rights campaigners arrested by authorities at the height of the oilfield strike.

Habiba Al Hinai, Esmail Al Muqbali and Yaqoub Al Kharusi were reportedly detained last week at a desert oilfield camp in Fahud where they had been visiting to investigate worker complaints alleging that supplies of electricity and essential supplies to residential camps were cut off by oil companies. The claim was denied by PDO.

 

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