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Follow these two steps to beat strikes and save your company thousands

by , 16 January 2014
When your employees embark on a strike to resolve a grievance or dispute, it costs you - BIG! The reality is any strike; irrespective of its size can be an expensive exercise for you. Follow these two steps to beat strikes and save yourself thousands.

Yesterday, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) said it was gearing up for a strike in the platinum industry after receiving a mandate to strike at Impala Platinum (Implats). And a decision on any industrial action in the sector should be expected only in the coming week, BDlive reports.

According to the report, Amcu members had voted to go on strike at Implats, the world's second-largest producer, on Monday, but the union's still waiting for the go-ahead from members at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and Lonmin, the world's biggest and third-largest producers respectively.

The good news is you can try to avoid a similar situation in your workplace.

Use these two steps to deal with strike action

Step #1: Know what matters of mutual interest are and how they relate to strikes and collective bargaining

According to the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service, a matter of mutual interest means the terms and conditions of employment, employee compensation, remuneration and service benefits which can either be located from statute, collective agreement or in a contract of employment.

Essentially, a matter of mutual interest can virtually be any material issue that involves employment conditions, whether or not it's been a subject of collective bargaining.

For example, the matter could relate to hours of work, leave conditions and remuneration.

So make sure you know why your employees are going to strike.

Identify all matters of mutual interest between you and your employees that could be the cause of a strike.

Form a good relationship with your employees and their representatives to make it normal practice for employees to raise their concerns with you before they contemplate a strike.

Step #2: Embark on win-win negotiations

Win-win negotiations happen when parties resist trying to 'beat' each other. They focus more on seeking ways of achieving their own goals while, at the same time, seeking a solution that'll accommodate the needs of the other.

It may be necessary to take a tough line while negotiating with unions to establish limits of acceptable behaviour. But, hammering the union and your employees should never be the long-term goal, says the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

When the other party sees you're not prepared to go beyond certain limits, but are prepared to try to accommodate their needs, they learn to respect you as a tough but fair and reasonable negotiating partner.

Win-win negotiations is about working hard to find out what the employees' real and underlying needs are and to find ways of satisfying those needs without causing harm to your business.

Well there you have it. Using these steps will go a long way in helping you beat strikes and the effects it causes.

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