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Seven factors you must consider when negotiating rules for pickets

by , 24 January 2014
Your employees have a right to picket. But that doesn't mean you have to tolerate a disruptive, violent and unruly mob. You must work out picketing rules with the trade union from the onset. Here are the seven factors you must consider when you meet.

The 100000-strong strike by members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) in the platinum sector has entered its second day.

While the first day went on with few incidents of intimidation, latest reports by Eye Witness News are that clashes have broken out between striking Amcu members and mine security at Anglo Platinum's Khuseleka shaft this morning.

According to the report: 'The clashes erupted when the miners started gathering on the second day of their wage strike. Workers claim they were provoked by mine security during a mass meeting at the shaft. Roads have been blocked with rocks and a police inyala is patrolling the area.'

This highlights the importance of establishing rules with the unions when it comes to industrial action such as strikes and pickets. While workers have a right to strike, it's important they know what's allowed and what isn't.

These are the seven factors you must consider when negotiating picketing rules

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service says you must consider the following factors when you negotiate an agreement on the rules governing picket action:

#1: The nature of the 'authorisation notice' and service (i.e. will you accept service of the notice by fax, hand delivery, post or email).

#2: The notice of the commencement of the picket. This must include the place (where), time (when) and the extent of the picket (how long);

#3: Designated areas for the picket, for example outside the entrance to the premises, at the gates of the premises or outside the front doors.

#4: Time and duration of the picket, for example, what time will the picket commence and for how long will it continue during the day or thereafter;

#5: The number of employees taking part in the picket;

#6: Access to the premises for purposes other than picketing; for example access to toilets, the use of phones.

#7: How workers must conduct themselves during the picket.

Here's a tip you can use when negotiating picketing rules

Here's a useful tip for you: Try to regulate picket rules in advance to prevent problems later. It may be difficult to get agreement when you're already in the middle of a strike.

Setting ground rules for pickets will help ensure your employees know what's allowed and what isn't and you'll avoid undue disruptions.

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