Strikes in a stricken nation1 min read . Updated: 10 Jan 2009, 01:12 AM IST
Strikes in a stricken nation
Some 35 years after George Fernandes led a famous strike of railwaymen that brought the country to its knees, public sector employees went on strike for the wrong reasons.
Oil company executives and truckers struck work. India was held to ransom for the better part of the week. Dwindling oil supplies threatened to bring the economy to a grinding halt.
While the government cracked the whip on Friday and oil company employees agreed to come back to work, the question to be asked is how justified are well-paid public sector employees in striking work? Compared with the precarious existence of those in the unorganized sector, their behaviour can only be called aristocratic displeasure.
A linked question is why does the government tolerate such behaviour and what took it so long to make the employees fall in line? This needs no complicated explanation: The general election is close by and while the government may wish to be firm with the strikers, it can only afford to appear being firm.