Bureaucratic Strike

As the battle lines are drawn over the Å pidla government’s budget reforms, MF Dnes is reporting that bureaucrats will join teachers in a strike at the beginning of September.

What’s novel is their method of protest: not picketing, not gathering in mass demonstrations. They will all show up to work and do their work exactly to the letter of the law. Exactly. One ‘i’ not dotted? Tough luck. One paper without a stamp? S.O.L., vole.

Translated from MF Dnes’ article:

“We will strictly adhere to all laws, deadlines and requirements, which will paralyze the tax administration,” said Jana Říská of Prague’s Financial Unions. Tax officials are calling on all government employees to join this pressure action. It is precisely these officials that will bear the biggest brunt of the cuts, because their bonus checks – the 13th and 14th months’ pay – will be cut.

What surprises me about this strike is that they actually think they’re doing anything differently. I wonder if our colleague in Washington at Adventures in Bureaucracy has any similar experiences?

One word I hear a lot in dealing with Czech bureaucracy is ‘bohužel.’ I usually translate this as “I have just f*cked you and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.”

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