When employees go on strike, the situation quickly turns violent. Property is damaged, non-striking employees are attacked and there's often a need for intervention. Luckily, there's a way to protect your business from damage if your striking employees turn violent - here's how to implement a lock out.
South Africa is a strike haven – and not the peaceful 'silent picket' type.
reports that employees at the Durban University of Technology went on strike last week, refusing to work until their salary demands are met.
And a dispute over the payment of year-end bonuses at the Medupi power station has been going on since 16 January.
says Medupi's employees are still locked out
of the premises, and Eskom wants workers to sign final warning letters.
The striking employees have been locked out as they became violent, torching an Eskom vehicle and damaging a police vehicle during a protest in February.
Lock out your striking employees if it's a protected strike
If you're facing similar strike action in your workplace and you fear that violence will break out, you're within your rights to implement a lock out as a form on industrial action.
A lock out is where you prevent striking employees from coming to work by barring them from entering your premises.
Section 64(1)(b) of the Labour Relations Act states that every employee has the right to strike and every employer has recourse to lock out striking employees.
But that's only if at least 48 hours' notice of the commencement of the strike, in writing, has been given to the employer, confirms the Business Day's BD Live
And if your employees suddenly go on strike without giving you any warning?
That's an unprotected strike, which is a lot trickier to manage – but it can still be done.
Stop an unprotected strike by taking legal action!
While you only have the right to lock out striking employees if they're are on a protected strike
, you can also lock out striking employees
to compel them to accept a demand, says the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service
And most of the time, employees and their respective trade unions will stop their unlawful conduct once they receive a court order interdicting and restraining them from participating in an unprotected strike
, the Labour Bulletin
So if your employees still won't stop the unprotected strike
after receiving a court order, start contempt of court proceedings, says FSP Business
There you have it. You can lock out striking employees if they turn violent while on a protected strike, and take legal action to protect your business if it's an unprotected strike.