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Discover the three essential components of a strike so you can effectively deal with strike action in your company

by , 02 July 2014
Members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), the country's largest union, downed tools yesterday.

The striking workers from the engineering and metals sectors want a 12% salary increase. Employers on the other hand, are only offering a raise of up to 8%. Efforts to end the strike are continuing.

While you await the outcome of the strike, why not take the time to find out about the three essential components of a strike. Knowing this information could help you successfully deal with strike action in your company in future.

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Revealed: The three essential components of a strike

According to the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service, the essential components of a strike are:

#1: A refusal to work

This may be partial or complete and would include a refusal to work overtime, participating in a go-slow or a refusal to comply with an aspect of the job, such as a refusal to clock in at the beginning of a shift.

Here's an example of a refusal to work: David is a forklift driver. He's on strike with a number of other employees on the factory floor. He abandons his forklift and refuses to perform any of his duties.

Here's an example of a partial refusal to work: David is prepared to move goods around the factory floor, but refuses to carry out deliveries i.e. he refuses to perform ALL his duties.

#2: The refusal must be concerted

A refusal to work is concerted if there are two or more employees withholding their labour. A single employee can't strike.

#3: There must be a common purpose

According to the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service, the concerted action must be for a stated purpose. I.e. to remedy a grievance or resolve a dispute concerning a matter of mutual interest between employers and employees. This could be, for instance, a demand for increased wages.

There you have it: These are the three essential components of a strike. Knowing this information will go a long way in helping you deal with strike action because you'll know exactly what you're dealing with.

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