Ali Al Matani –
When peaceful general strikes are organised in companies, excitement would reach extraordinary levels, as if it is the doomsday. It is natural that some people are angry at the irregularities in the work system, the methodology of work, late payment of salaries or other such issues, which pushes them to demonstrate in a peaceful way.
This phenomenon is familiar to us, and happens across the world. In this regard, we are not living in Utopia to think we can avoid such issues and protests. However, people at the other end must keep such problems within their proper framework.
Everyone must abide by the law and public order of the State, and should not present faults in the system as a major problem that never occurred before. These problems have become normal today and we have to adapt to them, and deal with them flexibly but effectively, without blowing them out of proportion.
Though demonstrations and strikes are peaceful means of expressing disapproval of some of the practices in companies and institutions, they must be the last resort. Challenging any practice or system must not necessarily lead to demonstrations or strikes.
Employees should be aware that there are other mechanisms that can be used to resolve issues, before going for strikes. Strikes have become a means of blackmailing or an instrument to discredit institutions, companies or bodies.
Therefore, the law alone can distinguish between strike as a right and strike as a tool to twist the institution’s arm, or between strike as a mean of expression and strike as a means to create chaos. The law protects both parties: the worker and the employee. Here, the wrongdoer must be punished according to the law. Accountability requires that everyone bears the responsibility of his actions.
The right to strike must be regulated by laws or policy decisions, and approval should be taken from a responsible entity that is competent to handle workers’ affairs — such as the Ministry of Manpower or any other agency, instead of leaving things uncontrolled and allowing strike as a weapon in the hands of those who cannot use it in a proper manner.
Otherwise, every person who is angry with the company for which he works can organise a strike without obtaining permission. We see serious violations committed against society, companies and individuals, due to some problems that can be solved by the competent authorities without strike.
One of the things that must be controlled is the use of social media and other tools, which are used to defame some entities and companies. Such bodies and companies must have the right to sue those who publish abusive materials, violate the law, and distort the image of bodies and companies in the eyes of the community, when problems can be solved before or during the strike without adopting any harmful approach.
Many practices that we have seen in recent times have no moral or legal justification for broadcasting across social media, without regard to legal consequences.
Problems between individuals and between employer and employees on any issue or practice can take place anywhere and any time, but there are trade unions for workers in companies, who can negotiate with administrations. There is the Union of Workers in the Sultanate and other such bodies for everyone to find a solution to any problem, without resorting to strike and creating problems.
The authorities concerned have enough experience to deal with this kind of problems, especially after the year 2011. There are remedies put in place by the State to deal with labour problems. As for the act of stirring chaos, there are trained security agencies to deal with that. Such agencies are now ready to handle any situation created by those who do not want to use official channels and follow legitimate means to fight for their rights.
Some people take advantage of the economic conditions for fishing in troubled waters and raise problems through claims related to exceptional rights which had been given to him when times were better than they are now. They create a big problem, without differentiating between fundamental rights such as salaries, and the extraordinary bonuses that are subject to certain conditions and circumstances.
Today, parliamentary channels are open in all councils, giving opportunities to all to convey their opinions and exercise their right of expression. At the same time, doors should be closed in the face of wrong practices that aim to sabotage others’ properties and rights. Instigators of riots should be condemned by law and given the punishment they deserve for tampering with the destiny of the nation.
We support those who claim their rights in the proper way, without creating any problems that may affect social security, and without using inappropriate language or causing defamation through broadcasting and publishing on social networking sites.
We hope that everyone would be more cautious while exercising their rights. We always must place the nation’s interest before anything. What is happening around us should make us more careful. Finally, if the law is applied effectively, it will be a solution to any problem. That is because law deprives no one of his right, favours no one and excludes no one. So we must be very keen to find solutions.