Employees Strike- 2010

Any confrontation between government and its employees suggests lack of trust which sharply affects the future cordiality within the relationship and system of governance. For last more than a week employees of the state are not only on the war-path but they have challenged the trustworthiness of the government. This impasse has eroded the credibility of the government and put a question mark on the allegiance of the state employees towards the government. And this situation will have the long lasting impact on the administrative system rife with lack of trust, indiscipline and administrative inefficiency. Shrewd employers never allow lack of trust and credibility to creep into their system and do not permit   situations to go out of control in a way that they loose the moral right of being known as masters. Governance is not confined to only occupying powerful chairs and exercising vested powers and privileges, but the real attributes of good governance are leadership traits, integrity and trust. I think the present dispensation lacks all these traits and has become egoistic and stubborn. Leaderships sitting fenced within the oligarchy of sycophants get ill advised and ultimately lose the moral right and authority to lead and govern. An establishment which can not manage its exclusively subservient entity – the employees in a disciplined manner can not expect compliance by other sections of the society. This is how chaotic situations arise!

The present standoff laced with ego and inflexibility is so severe that it needs a sensible mediation and arbitration by some third party with much credibility and integrity. Whole of Srinagar and Jammu cities have turned into garbage dumps and cesspools. The situation at other prominent towns and habitations is muddled and pathetic. Healthcare, education and all other essential services barring electricity and water supply are in a situation of collapse for last more than a week. All the government offices including the civil secretariat are deserted and no government employee is seen within the premises. Government has failed to persuade its employees; even the arm twisting techniques of invoking essential services maintenance act (ESMA), arrests and suspensions are not proving as effective deterrents against the strike. So, this can be termed as the real and severe kind of face-off between the government and its employees.

This situation of conflict can not be assessed in isolation, rather a comprehensive evaluation of this strike, its origin and far-reaching consequences will not only provide a justified picture but will also help in resolving this stalemate and minimize the consequential damages caused by this situation of deadlock. Employees are the real instruments of governance for any credible and integrable administration. No government can be run without the active support of its employees and workers. Kings or the present time democratic heads of the government and administration can simply issue the orders but for implementation they have to solely rely upon their structure of governance-the employees and the workers. This makes a unique relationship, beyond the basic relation of employer and the employee, a relationship of trust and integrity. Modern contemporary system of governance exclusively based on the democratic norms makes this relation more fragile and has to be nurtured with ultimate levels of honesty, trust and integrity. No party, either the employer or the employee can afford deception, bullying, blackmail and arm-twisting, as ultimately within the civilized society we are all answerable to the masses.

Present collation government is working under immense pressure emanating from within the structure of collation, so deciding matters on merits is very rare under such situation of stress. Majority of the decisions of such collations are appeasing or just to strengthen their own political constituencies. The approach of appeasement and selfishness leads to under the carpet showdown within the collation partners culminating into situations like the present strike. In the first instance when the government implemented the sixth pay commission recommendations it should have assessed its financial position and gauged the future financial health and prospects of the state before making any commitment regarding the retrospective effect of the pay commission recommendations. Obviously, to score points over the political opponents and the collation partners within, the leader of the government was ill-advised by some sycophants to proceed in the matter with a hope that Almighty will bail him out. Secondly, let us consider the government implemented the recommendations retrospectively in good faith and keeping in mind the declining buying capacity of the state employees due to price rise and inflation; but why it remained sitting on the issue for so long and did not make any effective effort for   arranging the required funds? The best way should have been to tell its employees then and there that it can not afford to pay the dues retrospectively or the payment of arrears will be made in a longer plan spread over a period of more than a year. It is obvious; all these decisions were taken under political influence by applying their political heart and not the administrative mind. Now in this situation of crisis, you will blame either the employees or the political opponents; it does not sound either politically or administratively sound.

Employee leaders are no holy cows, but they have a valid point, they had been promised heaven but they are nowhere close to the hell. Like our collation government where every unit of collation is suffering from narcissism and leaves no stone unturned to undermine the other collation partners (no doubt strictly behind the veil) the trade union leadership is not less political in shape and size. No one can deny the fact that there are some vested elements even in the employee’s leadership but this can not be an excuse to paint the whole employees community as people lacking integrity. A sizeable portion of employee’s leadership is sincere and represents the real aspirations of this community. Many people talk of corruption within the ranks of the employees and thus rule out any compassion to be shown towards them but branding every employee as a corrupt entity will be unjustified. Price rise and inflation has drained the budget structure of working class, particularly the middle and lower income groups and frankly speaking they are the least corrupt groups. The ratio and quantum of corruption is directly related to the powers vested and the position occupied, so the level of corruption is more in higher echelons of administration than within the lower ranks.

Under present circumstances, where administration has become egoistic and is out to have its employees by neck; the employees have become stubborn and do not want to move an inch from their agenda, the deadlock will become more fatal and will bring more miseries for the common man. This is a testing time for the present government regarding its integrity, sensibility and administrative acumen and it has to make a move forward devoid of any ego and prejudice. Government and its leadership are like a fatherly figure within the system and it has to behave genuinely. Any ego, particularly within a democratic system is unbecoming of an elected government. Present leadership mainly the chief minister should not listen to that bunch of sycophants, who had there been on prowl to get a bad name for his administration. He is young and knows the sufferings of people; let him handle this issue as per his conscience exclusively. But, yes to be fair enough employees and their leadership have to introspect and behave as responsible criticizes. They should keep education and healthcare sectors along with electric and water supply out of the present and any future strike agenda. Proceeding on strike for genuine demands is their democratic right but they have certain responsibilities towards the community and humanity. Present generation can afford going without food for few days but any obstacle in imparting education to them will have far-reaching consequences. Employee’s genuine demands require a compassionate and genuine solution within a mutually agreed time frame and both the government and the employee’s leadership has to make a step forward simultaneously in the best interest of the employees, government and the common man, sooner the better.

 

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