Wednesday, March 23, 2005

On Strike (always)

The favourite passtime of our PSU (non)workers is going on strikes. They always have a 'list' of demands. They ensure the list is long so that even if some demands are met now, there is always something left for the next round.

When employees in the service sector PSUs go on strike, it is the people who are hit the most. On March 22, banking and insurance sector employees went on strike. The non-life sector staff thought this was not enough to squeeze the life out of people. So they went on strike for two more days.

The reason? Prominent among their 'list' of demands is wage revision. When where their wages revised? Just two years back. They are shameless to say it themselves. What do they want? Wage revisions every year?

They seem to have no thought for the hapless citizen. As it is, they work 'very hardly'. Now three days of paid 'non-work' will end up in piling up of files - premiums, medical reimbursements etc. What will the vehicle owners whose vehicle policies expire on one of these days do now? I don't think there is any provision to extend the validity of the policies because of the strike.

BSNL employees too are on the 'warpath'. The entry of private operators and the mass surrenders of landlines do not seem to have driven any sense. Just a few months back, BSNL linesmen in Bangalore asked one of my relatives around Rs 1.000 to install a telephone.

Because of the strike, phones, including mobiles have gone dead. So have the recently-launched broadband Internet services. Private operators too have been hit by the BSNL strike. They are unable to terminate the calls on BSNL landlines, and have to explain to angry subscribers that it is not their fault.

It's time we dump the PSUs and their heartless workers where they belong - in the gutter. At least what the Government can do is to privatise them (the PSUs, not the gutter, though both stink).