First of all, I think the ongoing strike by train drivers in Bombai is unethical. They struck yesterday and again today. A token strike of one day I can understand, but today is the second day. The city depends on trains. Five million (some say seven million) people travel by trains everyday to work. People – even the well to do – depend on trains as they are more dependable that the anarchy of maneuvering through Bombai's chaotic traffic. If the trains don't work these five million people don't go to work, result is chaos on the roads. Loss of productivity, well, I won't be the prosaic corporate communicator that I am here, on my blog, but that's one of the consequences. The cars come out and the roads become a single, interlocked, river of cars, honking, unable to move.
Today as I sat in traffic in a crowded bus, I could see thousands of cars of all make, uselessly sitting there, not getting anywhere, their drivers fuming. The heat was up, the sun was blazing, the noise levels were deafening. This is nothing but extremism of another type, this sudden calling of a strike. I hope the authorities take action to ensure that such incidents do not occur again.
The train drivers are a pampered lot, at least, in Bombai. I know. My uncle retired as a train driver. He tells me they work on six hours and the rest, if they work, is over time. Their pay is better than average. Plus (there are many pluses), they get to rest between runs. They have a slew of allowances. Yes, their jobs are lonely. Whose job isn't? Work in a workstation can also get lonely, especially when you slog after everyone (including train drivers) has gone home. They have nobody to talk to once inside their cabin. But that's an occupational hazard. Agreed?
Now why should they strike and leave five million people stranded? They are demanding among other things, better pay, which they are already getting. They have good retirement benefits which none of us sloggers from morning till late evenings are getting. Ah, then, we also don't get overtimes. They work lesser hours, which would be a blessing for us overworked people.
Train drivers, if you are reading this (which seems unlikely) please don't hold us to ransom like this. I am one of those who you haul to work and back every day.