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Employers issue notice of lock-out following Numsa's decision to strike! Here's how this works

by , 01 July 2014
A National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) strike is in full swing.

More than 220 000 Numsa members from the engineering, communications and automotive sectors have downed tools. They're demanding a 12% wage hike.

Following Numsa's decision to strike, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (Seifsa) - a national employer federation - served unions in the metals industry with lock-out notices.

This means 23 of Seifsa's member companies will shut down for the duration of the strike.

This move, which has been criticised by unions, has raised questions about lock-outs. Continue reading to find out how they work.

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Here's what you need to know about a lock-out

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service explains that a lock-out in response to a strike is called a defensive lock-out. It simply means that your employees may not return to work until they've dropped their demands.

This form of lock-out also helps to avoid violence and destruction of property on the premises during a strike.

Giving a notice of lock-out means you're changing the power play in that it's no longer up to your striking employees when they return to work.

When you give notice of lock-out, don't forget to place the notice of lock-out on your company notice boards so all your employees are aware of what's going on.

Keep in mind that lock-out doesn't mean you have to stop negotiating with the union.

Our experts say, if you use the lock-out in conjunction with continuing negotiations, it may result in a settlement of strike.

There you have it. If you think a lock-out will help you end a strike or guard against the violence that comes with strike action, use it to your advantage.

PS: If you need more information on lock-outs and on controlling strike action, check out the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

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