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Strike season is in full swing! Use these six tips to respond when employees go on strike

by , 08 July 2013
According to News 24, the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) and the United Association of SA (Uasa) last week received permission from the CCMA to strike after a third round of talks deadlocked. The strike is expected to affect both the bus and the airline industry. At this stage, it remains unclear to what extent SAA's flights would be affected by the strike if 70% of their ground and cabin crew go on strike. And that's why SAA has said that, if the need arose, it would activate contingency plans 'to ensure business continuity'. Read on to discover six tips that'll help you respond effectively if your employees resort to strike action...

According to News 24, unions are demanding 7.5% on total remuneration, down from 9.5%, which includes salary, medical aid, housing and meal allowances. In addition, Cosatu's Satawu and Uasa are working together for the first time on possible strike action, News 24 reports.

Meanwhile, according to Talk Radio 702, the strike by waste management company Pikitup has reportedly turned violent with workers on strike threatening those who aren't on strike and stoning trucks.

This is exactly why you need to know how to respond when your employees resort to strike action to quell the damage to property.

Here are six tips you can use to control your employees' strike action

#1: Deal with the issues of intimidation and misconduct in one letter and advise the union that if there's violence, intimidation and damage to property you'll approach the Labour Court for an urgent interdict.

#2: In the letter, seek a written undertaking from the union that they acknowledge they have a duty to control their members during a strike.

#3: When a union has given notice of intention to strike, employees sometimes ready themselves for the strike by asking non-union members to join in. This often takes the form of intimidation.

'Advise the union that they're obliged to ensure that non union members are not intimidated as soon as notice of intention to strike has been given. Suggest that it is the union's responsibility to control its members,' advises The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

#4: Place a notice on notice boards advising your employees that you're adopting a zero tolerance approach towards intimidation.

Advise your employees that any employee who intimidates another employee will be disciplined and if found guilty, may be dismissed.

#5: Ensure that you place a notice on the notice board setting out your company policy on misconduct. In the letter to the union, advise them that if their members engage in acts of violence or damage to property, the company will hold the union liable for such losses.

#6: After the strike has ended, proceed with disciplinary action if there have been acts of misconduct. It is important to establish a precedent that irrespective of the outcome of the strike, misconduct will not be tolerated. 

Remember that although these tips indicate possible ways of dealing with intimidation and misconduct once you have a strike on your hands, it's better to address these issues before you're faced with strike action.

So negotiate rules with your employees' union about strike related conduct when you're not in dispute. This way, you're more likely to get a sensible arrangement in place. And if the pre-agreed arrangement is breached, you'll be in a stronger position to take action.

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