Sunday 17 February 2013

Strike on 20th and 21st February; Bandhs and Strikes, do they serve any purpose

Strike on 20th and 21st February; Bandhs and Strikes, do they serve any purpose

Once again the season of strikes begins in India, with a 2 day strike called by 11 Trade Unions like Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh (BMS), All India Trade union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) etc. across India.  The Strike is supported by a variety of independent unions, political parties and other bodies across India.  Most the supporting unions and parties have their own Agenda for strike.  A perspective into what the strike could mean for India.

The Strike on 20th and 21st February, 2013 has been called by some 11 Trade Unions across India for fulfilling their litany of  demands which range for usual totally stupid demand of controlling Price Rise to demands worth mentioning like amendment in minimum wage to Rs.10000.00 pm.  

The absurdity of the demands can be seen from the fact that RBI has been trying out hard hitting anti inflationary methods like increasing interest rates, reverse repo and CRR rate since 2010 and yet failed as of today.  The Trade Unions seem to assume that the Price Rise is caused by the Government and will disappear if they strike and Government concedes to their demands.  They think the authorities have some kind of magic wand.  The leaders, it seems have never learned Economics in school or college and don't understand the fact that demand and supply are the key drivers of inflation, not the authorities.

Others jumping to their strike bandwagon are Mumbai's Autorikshaw Union led by ever so striking Sharad Rao.  This guy must be truly a character, whenever something happens he calls a strike.  The rickshaw fares were increased by the Government in end 2012, yet Mr.Rao has no memory of the price rise and wants more.  

The Banks are participating in the strike at the call of another Union called UFBU.  I'd rather forgive them for striking, as they seem to work their asses off on all working days.  But their demands look more frivolous with prime demand being opposition to mergers and a five day week.  Listen Banker bro, if a ordinary middle class workers intends to complete his bank related work, there is only a Saturday left in his other wise full 9.30 am to 6.00 pm calendar.  

Political Parties like Shiv Sena, NDA, CPI etc are participating for their own agenda, that is to show their mass strength before the forthcoming general elections in 2014.  They want to test the muddy waters of public mood before they can launch an assault on the ruling UPA alliance.

State wise the Maharashtra including Mumbai is going to be paralyzed along with all the non UPA states.  New Delhi wont be effected much.  West Bengal is sure to have violence and clashes between the CPI and Trinamool.  

The Kerala High Court, the Calcutta High Court have reiterated that strikes are illegal.  In 1997, the Supreme Court of India had deemed Strike as illegal.  

The Indian economy could lose close to around $2.00 to 4.00 billion or Rs.13000 crores to 26000 crores, which in the process of strike will add more to the very core inflation that the Unions are striking for.    The Unions are fighting for minimum wage of Rs.10000.00 per month for labour class.  But what will happen to the several daily subsistence labourers who earn on daily wage basis, who will have to skip work for two days.  Will the Union's compensate them.  The Unions which are going on Strike for the cause of such workers, are in very much same way hurting these daily wage labourers.  

The strike rich states of India, Kerala and West Bengal have a long and violent history of strikes.  But the 1997 Supreme Court result seems to have had a effect on them.  However now, I feel that the effect of Supreme Courts judgement is waning in these two states with the passage of time.

There should be a complete ban on strikes and bandhs across India, they not only hinder the growth of economy but also create problems in ordinary Indians lives.  May the Court of Law interfere in the matter and sort this issue once and for all.

Please post your comments,  enjoy the strike with a 2 day outing to some far off place, but do remember to fill your tanks with petrol before 20th as the Petrol pumps across India will probably be closed on account of strike.  

Vijay Prabhu
PS : I have written another blog regarding the demands of the Union.

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  2. All of us have at one time or the other suffered inconvenience or experienced hardship as a consequence of strikes resorted to by certain sections or groups in our society. When workmen of hospitals, transport undertakings, banks, etc. have struck work and roused the fury of the affected public, the common questions asked are: why should not the Government do something about these strikes? What are the reasons for the Government's apathy or inaction? Some of the affected may even advocate a ban on strikes. But they do not perhaps realize that a total, permanent Governmental ban on strikes will be impossible, impracticable and inappropriate. Industrial conflicts are inevitable in industrialized societies.

  3. I agree with you in all respects but my theory of strike is a bit different. You just cant go striking for inflation and things like that. Industrial conflicts arise out of disputes between the management and workers. But calling a strike for price rise or minimum wages or hike in rikshaw fare or against banks privatisation is uncalled for and unnecessary. It takes away two days of growth to the drain and increases the very problem they are fighting for.

  4. What is other way of raising voice.
    I am not supporting any strikes but may be that is the only resort to bring issues to notice of our dear government.
    Each day there is a increase in price except for wages or salaries.
    more than a lakh crore of scam, cant government think something beeter and fast, so that people dont get into strike mode?

  5. @Ajai, I agree the prices are going through the roof and each day price of something or other is hiked by the government, but tell me will paralyzing the nation do any good. Think about the 100s of daily wage earners who will not be able to earn anything.

    This are my views you are entitled to your views. That is why I view India as a beautiful country

  6. hi ,, i agree with you...But this bandh is for colleges also wat ??

  7. The autos and taxis will be off road on both days, the colleges and schools are not taking part but how will you get to college? The ISCE exams for class 12 have been cancelled, the Art paper will now be held on 25th Feb instead of 21st and other papers will be conducted on April 1, Meanwhile AICTE is going through with its All India Common Management Admission Test, be sure to be present at the venue. Board 12 Exams of Mumbai will go on as scheduled on 21st Feb.

    Hope this answers your questions.

  8. The main fun will be when people will cry and wait helplessly for food when all food supply will be stopped for bandhs or otherwise. People will understand ONLY when they are starved. he pain of hunger will make all humans equal and forget all their wanting s. When everone will have only one want the want of food, then only will they understand the true meaning of earning a livelihood.

  9. Really a sensible article! completely agree with it!

  10. The prices of commodities are spiralling but there is no increase in our salaries despite this. Moreover, the admissions to schools and colleges have increased by leaps & bounds and as such the minimum wage to Rs.10000.00 pm has become a necessity today!!

  11. I agree with you view of increases in food and commodities prices, but I don't agree striking is a viable option. Putting our fellow countrymen to hardship for our own gain is not a good option.

    However you are entitled to your view. I have my own views.


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