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Preparing your company for a lock-out? Here's what you need to know

by , 03 February 2014
The number of strikes currently on the go in the country is mind-numbing. From the taxi strike in Jo'burg to the on-going mining strikes and even the one at the post office, it's frightening to think how many companies are being held to ransom. Do you have any options? Yes you do! You can always initiate a lock -out!

Think you have no leg to stand on when it comes to strikes? Think again!

What few employees realise is that, in the face of a strike, they can actually initiate something called a lock-out.

What is a lock-out?

Essentially, explains the Alberta labour relations board, a lock-out entails you – the employers – to lock-out your workers by either:

  • Closing the place of employment,
  • Suspending the work
  • Or refusing to continue to employ employees for the purpose of compelling employees to agree to terms of conditions of employment.

While it sounds harsh, the Department of Labour says it's 100% legal if:

  • A dispute has been referred to a council or the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA);
  • A certificate that a dispute remains unresolved has been issued;
  • 30 days have elapsed since the referral; and
  • You give 48 hours' written notice to the a council (if the dispute relates to a collective agreement to be concluded in a council) or an employers' organisation (if the employer is a member of an organisation that is a party to the dispute); or
  • You give 48 hours' written notice of a lockout to the trade union; or to the workers (if they aren't trade union members); or to a council (if the dispute relates to a collective agreement to be concluded in a council).

But what exactly does it include? Keep reading to find out...


Discover the essential components of a strike and effectively manage striking employees...

If strikes aren't managed properly they could spiral out of control and become violent... Leaving your company crippled by work disruptions and loss of profits... 

Discover how you can avoid strikes from ruining your company here.


How to prepare for a lock-out

The A-Z Guide to Preventing and Managing Strikes says that to perform a lock-out you must have the following information so you're able to communicate with all concerned:

  • List of telephone numbers of your key personnel and union marshals (including after-hours numbers if possible)
  • Telephone number of local traffic authorities
  • Telephone number of local police
  • Telephone numbers of main suppliers to the company
  • Telephone numbers of key people at your Head Office whom you may need to contact, including after-hours numbers
  • National and local telephone number of the unions you may engage with
  • Telephone numbers of attorneys on standby

So there you have it. If you want to perform a lock-out to get striking employees to take you seriously, you can. Just as long as you follow these rules, that is.

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