When the Industrial Revolution began in England, those who were employed in the factories were at the mercy of their employers. Their wages were low, and if they asked for higher wages, they would be simply dismissed, because there were plenty of other poor workers to replace them. This situation was unjust, and, gradually, the workers realized that they could acquire strength by forming unions. Trade Unions came into being thus, and they established the principle and practice of “collective bargaining”
Employer had now to deal with the united bodies of their workers, and the workers could bargain, from the position of strength, with their employers for higher wages, shorter hours, and better conditions of work in the factory. The weapon wielded by the Trade Union was the “strike”- a refusal to continue their work except on certain conditions.
Armed with this powerful weapon, Trade Unions, were able to lift the working classes to higher levels, and secure for them better wages, shorter hours, healthier conditions, and a measure of independence. Trade unionism has spread to every country in the world, and has brought great benefits to the working classes everywhere. But these are evils and danger connected with strikes. Beyond certain limits, they can totally destructive. They may cause harm that industries may collapse, and the workers may find themselves unemployed. Led by immoderate leaders, trade unions sometimes paralyse industries. And when investors find the condition intolerable, they shift their factories to other places where the workers are more ready to co-operate with their employers.
In Kerala, unionized workers, by their irrational and fanatical behaviour, have forced a great many industrialists to shift their factories to other states, like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. It is impossible for any Government in Kerala to attract investors to the State, because Kerala has become notorious for the belligerency and violent behaviour of the workers. No one wants to invest here, because no believes that any industry can flourish here.
Unfortunately, the trade union mentality has spread into public services and educational institutions. Even students of primary schools are made to go on strike by the so- called “student- leaders” at their own will and pleasure. This, tendency, naturally destroys the very fabric of education. Unionized Government employees go on strike frequently asking for higher salaries, and paralyse work in government offices. Worst of all, political parties frequently call for hartals and bandhs, which paralyse the whole state. These anti-social activities must be curbed. But who can do that, when the politicians, who the state, themselves support and encourage or even organize them?