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Have you experienced strike action this year? Use these seven tips to avoid future strikes in your workplace

by , 31 October 2013
Recent months have seen a number of strikes in various sectors of the economy. This includes the electricity sector, motor sector and, the usual suspect, the mining sector. At the moment, SA Breweries (SAB) is experiencing a strike. According to reports, they've even turned to the Labour Court in an attempt to bring an end to 'intimidation and violence' in a strike by workers affiliated to Food and Allied Workers' Union. If you're in one of the industries that have experienced strike action, use these seven tips to avoid future strikes.

If you've experienced strike action, you'll know, all too well, the effects of strike action like:

  • Lost productivity
  • Relationship damage that often occurs during a long and acrimonious strike

While there are no guarantees, the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service recommends you use these tips to try avoid future strikes or plan for the eventuality of a strike that you can't avoid:

Seven tips on what you can do to avoid future strikes

#1: You must realise that most major unions will comply with the provisions of the Labour Relations Act and so it'll be difficult for you to use interdicts to undermine strikes in future negotiations on conditions of employment.

#2: Therefore, you should base your collective bargaining strategies on that assumption and you should adopt a more realistic position to resolve wage disputes.

#3: Try to build trust between your negotiators and union officials so you can establish a proper platform for collective bargaining. Remember, no matter how vigorously representations are made, if there's no trust, you'll not be taken seriously.

#4: Get information on what has been agreed on at other companies in your industry. This should be part of your preparation for negotiation.

#5: Avoid inappropriate and callous statements as these only serve to intensify conflict.

#6: Start the wage negotiation process with an offer that's fairly realistic and reasonably close to what you intend paying as increases. Making ridiculous opening offers only serves to delay and frustrate the process.

#7: While senior managers and directors must be appropriately rewarded, you should think carefully about what increases you give them.

Research indicates that those increases directly encourage disputes and industrial action. You should consider there should be more balance between rewarding executives and paying employees.

If there are massive differences in increases between executives and other employees, this could fuel disputes and strikes in the future.

While strikes are to be expected, these tips could go a long way to help you avoid future strikes or plan for the eventuality of a strike.

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