Sunday, August 31, 2008

Only bonded labours have right to strike

People who are not bonded-labours, do not have right to strike. Employment is a contract. If any party breaks it, redress should be sought legally. Any other option like strike is unethical and immoral.
That's the gist of what I want to say. If you want to read the same point with loads of fluorish, read on.

  1. Striking work for a pay-hike is plain robbery. It is a blatant violation of the industry-owner's right to use his/their own money. If pay is less, employee should quit the job. If quitting job is not easy due to economic scenario, accept the fact that employer is doing a favour to the employee. One accepting favour is in no position to strike, morally speaking.
  2. If employer has embezzled money or defaulted on salaries, take recourse to legal route. If judiciary/police does not work, fix those. Do not strike.
  3. May be working class has won the right to strike after a long struggle. So what? Assume I start a long struggle for right-to-murder from this day on?
  4. Strikes happen in developed world too. That does not lend any legality to strikes. Developed world people are wrong when they 'strike'.
  5. Mahatma Gandhi called a general strike. He was wrong. I do not buy the argument that striking against foreign rule was okay. Every body joining the strike should have rather resigned from their job. Keeping the job and resorting to strike is opportunism of the worst kind. I respect Gandhi very much and I plan to dig into his autobiography to see how he could have rationalized such an action. Respecting Gandhi does not mean that I should agree with him.
  6. I have seen elaborate articles in favour of strike. I could not find a single reasoning which can refute the argument I cited above. If you (the reader) have a reason for 'strikes', let me know. I have tried reading a pamphlet by W.R.Varadarajan at Its a lengthy article and I am still going through it. It is an article written with loads of conviction and lots of effort. It impresses me but does not convince, at least not yet. If you have gone through the same article and found something convincing for right-to-strike, let me know.


Sambaran said...

I had a email chain with my friend Annamalai over this blog-post. Cut-pasting it as a comment here.

I like your points on against strike.
Assume the situation. Five industires are started in one village. All owners of industry have formed a group. They are fixing salary at very low levels. What you should do as an employee?

As an employee you should get out if you do not like the salary.
If every other option pays the same low salary, you have to accept the low salary. May be start a side business of your own to boost your income. On no account, you can force the owner to pay you more money. It is like robbery.

Situation 1: Five owners are united, and give low salary to 500 employees.
Situation 2: 500 employees are united, and ask 5 owners to pay more.
Are u telling both situations are robbery? or only second situation is robbery?

Situation 2 is robbery. Situation 1 is not.
Telling person-A about what to do with his own money is robbery against person-A.
In situation-1, owners are spending their own money as per their own wish.
In situation-2, 500 employees are asking 5 owners about how to use their money. This is robbery.

Situation 3: Owner is not telling the employees to work in that salary, they are not forcing to work, but they will give just less money if u work for them.
Situation 4: Employees are not forcing them to pay more , just they are telling they will work only if u pay more.

I guess both situation are in same status.

You are right that situation 3 and situation 4 is the same. None of them is robbery. However in situation 4, the employees should not 'strike' violently. If the employer can find other employees to work for less pay, original employees should not make any trouble and should quit their jobs.
Offcourse, Old employees should not use any force if new employees come for less salary, but they can persuade new employees by explaining the situation as Owners are explaining this situation to new owners...

Old employees can always talk/explain the situation to new employees without hindering work. If new employees get convinced they will quit the job too. Owner will now try to get fresh set of new-new-employees. If there are more new-new-employees available in the market, the situation continues.
If there are no more new-new-employees in the market then owner has two choices:
- Increase the salary as there is no way out.
- Exit the business if the owner thinks that salary has grown too high.

I agree with your conclusion. So employees can stop work and ask pay rise, but they should not block other employees by forcing them. I support these type of strikes, but as u know, practically strikes are not obeying these methods.

Yeah, you are right. It is for all of us to see that strikes do not happen as per the 'protocol' we discussed. This is the precise reason this posting finds its way to 'oshantomon'. I find it distressing that many people do not consider 'strike'(especially for a payhike) and 'robbery' at the same level of morality.

shadkam77 said...

Thank you Annamalai & Sambaran,
After going through this email chain, I feel I have learnt something(s) new, feel enlightened a bit :).

Unpretentious Diva said...

I know you want right to free food, you want right to free electricity, you want right to free education, you want right to free health-care, you want right to free water, you want right to free everything.
You do not want to earn for it, you do not want to work for it. Ohh yep God made everything for you to get free so why should you work?
Furthermore you want scholarship for voting too.
You must strike, its your right.

Communists are not beggars, because they considers begging as their bron right. Communists are looters and robbers. because they loot individuals and terms it their right.

And you are not begging