Strike in the Government Sector
The main topic of question here is whether government employees such as the police, military and doctors should be allowed to go on strike or not. In any profession, except in emergency services, the workers have the right to strike. I believe that employees in the government payroll have a valid right to benefit from the same Fundamental International Rights of workers as specificied by the International Labor Organization through its Conventions, and the Right to strike is enlisted in it.
Workers participate in strikes whenever their respective grievances are not met in relation to the services they offer at their work places. Similarly, government employed workers have the Right to strike when the government as their employer fail to meet their end of the bargain. Striking is a measure taken by the employees as a way of ensuring the employers put in place the agreed terms and conditions as stipulated, especially if the employer was initially reluctant in implementing this terms.
The government employees have needs too and if they present their needs to the relevant authorities and are ignored, they find another avenue to air their grievances and in many cases it is often strikes. Moreover, these employees give up much of their personal life for their jobs e.g. a doctor is never on holiday or a fire fighter may be called in case of a nighttime fire. If the employees have genuine complaints about work, they should be allowed to go on strike if previous attempts to resolve the disputes were shunned.
Back in the 1800s, when slavery was a norm in the plantations in the West Indies, it is striking and industrial actions that helped end it. The belief may just as well be the same today. Workers too have rights and this is a good way to help us not forget that this privileges we enjoy at work today were fought for. The lifetime problem of the worker earning very low wages while the employer gets fat profits needs workers to help the selfish employers see the reality of their greed.
Not all strikes are about monetary issues though, some are strikes about retrenchments and some are about fighting for certain rights. These government employees are important in their capacity to do their specific jobs. A teacher has the qualifications to teach and not just anybody can do the job, therefore this teacher is in high demand and has to fight for his rights. Every parent wants the best education they can afford for their children and experienced teachers are the best option for this, therefore, protected and if striking is the means by which they fight for it, so be it.
The government has the responsibility of preventing strikes by its employees by providing services as stipulated in the appointment letters and also work benefits when need arises i.e. market inflation. Most government employees provide essential services to the public i.e. the police, teachers, doctors and in as much as this is important to a nation as a whole, this people are after all still human.