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What if your workers DON'T return to work after the strike's called off?

by , 16 May 2013
The wildcat strike at Lonmin's Marikana mine in the North West has been called off, with the striking workers agreeing to return to work this morning. Unfortunately, when the recent bus driver strike was called off by unions earlier this week, the workers didn't return to work immediately as the messaged hadn't been passed on that the strike was over. Here's what to do if your workers continue to stay away from work once a strike's been called off...

Just like that, the two-day Lonmin Marikana wildcat strike is over.
All it took was for president Joseph Mathunjwa of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) to hold a meeting with the workers, telling them to return to work, says Fin24
Here's how two separate strikes were successfully called off this week
Mathunjwa told the workers gathered at Wonderkop stadium that there are channels to be followed and they should return to work so their enemies don't take advantage of the situation.
That's because there's already a case at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on the workers' dispute over the recognition of Amcu as majority union at Lonmin, adds IOLNews.
And that's all it took to end the strike.
Similarly, the three-week bus strike that left thousands stranded finally came to an end this week as a result of a successful negotiation for a 10% salary increase.
Employers and unions were involved in lengthy discussions yesterday and finally compromised on a 10% salary increase offer from the employer after Satawu initially demanded a wage increase of 18%.
That's why bus drivers across the country have returned to work this week, effectively ending their three-week strike, says FSPBusiness.
But just because the strike's over doesn't mean your workers will automatically return to work.
One reason workers don't return to work when they're supposed to once a strike's called off…
For example, with the bus drivers' strike, the negotiation was only agreed to on Monday afternoon, meaning many of the striking bus drivers only heard of the result after they were expected back at work on Tuesday.
Here's how to discipline your employees if they stay away from work
If you're facing a similar situation where strikers don't return to work after a strike is called off, the Labour Relations Act says you ARE allowed to discipline and dismiss these employees, provided you follow the correct legal procedure to the letter. 
That's why it's a good idea to give unions an ultimatum that you'll hold hearings and your employees will be dismissed if they don't return to work, says the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.
Of your employees still stay away from work, this counts as desertion, which is a disciplinary offence that should be dealt with as misconduct. 
To be considered as desertion, you'll need to make sure the employee's intention is never to return to work, says FSPBusiness, so make all efforts to contact your absent employees to find out there intentions. 

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