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Institute contempt of court proceedings to stop an unprotected strike

by , 01 February 2013
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)should have started Marikana wage talks with Lonmin sooner, before lives were lost, reports advocate Ishmael Semenya. But employees on an unprotected strike often refuse to be represented. And strikers often continue to strike, even after you've issued a court order. But you can take further action if your employees continue with an unprotected strike by instituting contempt of court proceedings.

'You were contractually able to open this discussion with Lonmin. You elected not to, until lives were lost,'advocate Ishmael Semenya, stated to NUMduring the inquiry in Rustenburg on Monday, News24 reports.

But as this was an unprotected strike, strikers were told as far back as August that the union didn't endorse  their actions.
In fact, striking rock-drill operators refused to be represented by trade unions, adds the TimesLive website.
This is why it's easy to spend thousands of rand in legal fees to restrain your employees from participating in unprotected strikes.
Most of the time, employees and their respective trade unions will stop their unlawful conduct once they receive acourt order interdicting and restraining them from participating in an unprotected strike, the Labour Bulletin explains.
But since trade unions aren't always involvedand employees don't always obey these court orders, you can end up feeling like there's nothing else you can do to avoid an unprotected strike at your workplace.
Luckily, there isrecourse you can take againstthe employees and unions involved in unprotected strikesif they don't heed court orders.
If they still won't stop the unprotected strike after receiving a court order, start contempt of court proceedings!
The next step is to institute contempt of court proceedings against your defaulting employees and unions.
But you'll have to prove four things for the Labour Courtto issue an urgent contempt of court ruling.
Prove these four factors for the Labour Court to issue an urgent contempt of court ruling
  1. Acourt order was granted against the union and/or employees;
  2. The union and/or employees were either served with the court order or wereinformed of the grant of the order against them and could have no reasonable grounds for disbelieving the information;
  3. The union and/or employees have failed to comply with the court order; and
  4. The union and/or employees are in wilful and mala fide disobedience of the court order.
If you can prove all this, you can take action to stop your employees' unprotected strike in its tracks.

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