What labour laws?
Workers’ right to protest draconian regulations and infringement of their basic entitlements has been worst hit in recent times. In a blatant disregard of all international labour laws and norms, the head of Lufthansa asked for ‘reform’ of workers’ right to strike as the German airline saw its biggest strike in history. Christopher Franz, Lufthansa CEO, said while right to strike was a constitutional right, the dissenting pilots and other staffers at the airline must not skirt their duty to keep the system up and running. Completely casting a blind eye to the umpteenth labour-related problem and gross neglect of labour rights, Lufthansa stands among a long line of international airlines that have come under the scanner for resorting to low-cost labour to grow their long-haul businesses all over the world. Others include Austrian Airlines, air France, Aer Lingus, SAS and Finnair, while closer home, there is the grounded Kingfisher Airlines, which hasn’t paid it staffers for the past 19 months in a stretch.
Curbing workers’ unions and their rightful protests against gross discrimination of labour rights, managements the world over are waging an orchestrated war to crush labour rights, pushing the limits of work conditions beyond the bearable. Concerted attempts to delegitimise workers’ strike by resorting to media propaganda against them as well as raking up antipathy towards the striking pilots have become the new normal, with even the regular public now blaming the staffers for disruptions. Industry and government, unfortunately, instead of safeguarding rights, have joined
hands to crush them.