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These ten steps will help you deal with protected strikes

by , 13 March 2015
As we promised in our last post, there are a ways you can deal with strike situations. And today we want to show you what to do when you're faced with a protected strike.

Don't forget that the law protects the employee in case of a strike, so dismissing him on these grounds will be considered unfair. In this article we'll detail for ten steps you can you follow to deal with this situation.

Here are they are...

Here's how to deal with employees who go on protected strikes
Step #1: Since the law doesn't allow you to use court interdicts or dismissals to deal with protected strikes, you have to make sure the strike is most definitely 'protected'.
Step #2: Make your employees understand your reasons for sticking to your position. You can either meet with them or you can issue notices explaining the reasons behind your decision about the strike, this way you'll clear up any misconceptions created by rumours or malicious instigators.
Step #3: Negotiate with the employees. Those that are fair demands and which you can afford, should be something you compromise on. 
Step #4: Or you could try to step aside, sit out, rather than getting involved, let the employees strike and continue with your business. Only do this if you truly can't give into any of the strikers' demands, or if you haven't succeeded in settling the dispute through negotiation. Or if you are in a strong financial situation that allows you to keep the production going or you're certain you've made reasonable counter proposals and these have been rejected.  
Step #5: After you followed the above procedures required for a protected strike, you have the right to take industrial action, also known as a "lock-out". This is the only situation in which the lock-out would be protected.

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Step #6:  You can also bring in replacement labour, where this is practical, but you should be very careful when doing so because a measure like this can provoke your strikers to violence. It will be best for you to make sure you have protective security in your company before bringing in replacement workers. It's the best way to prevent attacks.
Step #7: If the non-strikers appear to be in danger, you can temporarily evacuate them for their own protection. Just remember that you might have to continue paying the non-strikers if you evacuate them.
Step #8: Pay special attention to potentially dangerous or strategic installations such as fuel depots or electrical generators, to ensure the necessary protection for your employees.
Step #9: Do the best you can to deal with sabotage, blockades, picketing or other disruptive or prohibited conduct during strikes, but do it in a firm but restrained manner. And in case you may have to bring in police or security personnel, do this in such a way that their presence is preventive. Give instructions that no force is to be used, unless it's absolutely necessary.
Step #10: And most importantly: Never pay employees for the period they were on strike! The employees have the right to strike for as long as they see fit, but rest assured that they won't be able to hold out forever because of the loss of income.
As you can see, strikes can be a real challenge to you, no matter from which angle you look at them. Now that you have this information, things will fall into place. Whenever a strike starts in your company just remember these steps, follow them, and you'll have no problems with the CCMA. 

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