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Bank strike in India – oppression by the organized class

Karl Marx, the original innovator of the trade union concept, would be turning in his grave to see such trade union trends these days, where trade unions have totally become politicalized, with preconceived and prejudiced views.
(Bank strike on Monday, operations to take a hit: A list of banks and services that will be affected. Photo Crusty: NDTV)

Bank unions have once again announced the strike on 15th & 16th March protesting against some issues. On such issues, it is not the first time that strikes have been organized and perhaps, it would not be the last time when the bank unions would resort to the strike in the future.

The bank strikes have become repeated incidents and a matter of routine, that people have started thinking that the bank employees would only conduct themselves in such manner, mixing work with the strike as and when they desire.

Some people sarcastically say that when bank employees become tired of working, they go on strike for a change!

Just like the people, the government, and the bank managements seem to have reconciled themselves to such behavior patterns of the bank employees.

As there seems to be consensus opinion in the country that strikes by bank employees have become a necessary culture of operations in the banks, no one even seems to calculate the loss happening to the country’s exchequer and sufferings of the clients and industries due to such strike. Possibly, people are counting the holidays along with the strike days.

It is widely recognized that bank employees are one of the affluent sections of society, particularly when compared to the middle income and lower-income groups. By applying pressure on the government and management and not hesitating to use coercive techniques, bank employees have been able to raise their salaries, perks, and other benefits from time to time.

What is particularly shocking is that the trade unions which say that they stand for the cause of the deprived section of society and to prevent exploitation of the working-class, are instrumental in launching such strikes.

Karl Marx, the original innovator of the trade union concept, would be turning in his grave to see such trade union trends these days, where trade unions have totally become politicalized, with preconceived and prejudiced views.

Many demands raised by bank employees are related to policy decisions of the government such as the merger of banks, privatization of banks, etc. which are essentially administrative issues introduced by duly elected democratic government, endorsed by a majority of the country’s electorate. These moves have no bearing on the work conditions in the banks.

Obviously, the politicalized trade unions are using the bank employees to settle their political scores.

It is well known that at least a section of bank employees at the various levels are unhappy about the frequent strike calls and disruptive tactics of the unions but they are so scared due to the vice-like grip of the political leadership of the trade unions and therefore, remain silent. With what looks like a herd mentality, bank employees simply follow the dictates of the union leaders, and in such a situation, inevitably the strike called by bank unions becomes complete and total.

Today, the real conflict in this country is between the organized and unorganized class. The organized class like bank employees enjoying guaranteed employment and a comfortable pay packet seem to be taking the country for granted and do not seem to be concerned about the plight and feelings of those in the unorganized sector.

Such strikes and disruptive tactics of the organized class are causing economic loss to the country and putting the general public to sufferings, which inevitably result in affecting the national income and the ability of the country to ensure better conditions for unorganized class.

This is now the time for another Karl Marx to descend, where the grievance and protest of the unorganized class, against the oppressive and exploitative tactics of the organized class by indulging in disruptive activities causing national loss even while enjoying a fair share of national income, would be brought to light so that the organized class would realize their responsibility and improve their behavior and give up the routine strike mentality.

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