There will always be issues, there will always be UNIONS!
Unionism, in all the professional fields, has a long history and importance when it comes to address the common issues faced by a workforce, employees, laborers’ etc. The employees usually have various issues pertaining to their service conditions and their rights, which if challenged, are reclaimed by a singular voice i.e unions. Unions are largely successful in taking such issues up higher authorities and getting them resolved as well.
Jammu and Kashmir is the state where unionism has played and continues to play a more crucial role, as the employees in state are subjected to various disparities and inequalities with respect to a wide range of issues. Several trade Union leaders have fought with the successive governments to ensure that the needful and rightful is delivered. Several among the trade union leaders have later tried their luck in politics as well and very well known faces like Khursheed Alam, Muntazir Mohiuddin and now Abdul Qayoom Wani are a few to mention here. These leaders and many more joined mainstream politics after their long career in trade unions though historically trade unionism has always remained non-political in nature.
The debarment of rights to various cadres of employees of the state has a reason of financial insufficiency in the state due to decade’s long dispute in Jammu and Kashmir. The situations of losing precious lives, infrastructure and government assets arise here frequently and as a result the state has suffered massive losses.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir also remains a poor one due to the lack of a vibrant industrial sector here besides the losses suffered by small-scale business due to frequent hartals, curfews etc.
The Union leaders have, time and again, succeeded in bringing about some improvement in the service conditions/work conditions and other issues for their lot with the active support of the employees History is witness, no issue of government employees in the state has got resolved without a proper intervention of Union representatives of employees or without going through a series of protests. There were the issues of implementing the benefits of 6th pay commission, 7th pay commission , enhancement of retirement age and various issues pertaining to regularization of employees, pay anomalies etc. which were settled only after the intervention of unions and their peaceful protests.
The recent developments regarding settling down the issue of thousands of teachers who were debarred from implementation of 7th pay commission benefits and the timely releasing of their salaries, are a latest example of the efficiency and efficacy of having a Union or a Forum to rely upon. Employees have a right to highlight their issues in a peaceful way and thus the unionism shall always have a strong role to play. However keeping in view the personal interests of many trade union leaders, who after serving the employees in trade unions chose to join politics, one must not take them on the face value or on the merits of these leaders as Union leaders and rather examine their political acumen. Politics is a different ball-game and Unionism is entirely different and we shouldn’t judge people on one front and deem him/her fit for another.