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Strike cripples motor industry! Should the sector consider replacement labour?

by , 23 August 2013
On Monday, production came to a halt at seven of the country's major motor manufacturers when 30 000 workers downed tools. The affected carmakers include BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, General Motors, Volkswagen, Nissan and Ford as well as some truck and bus makers. It's estimated these companies are losing R700million a day as a result of the strike. The strike, which labour experts believe will have fair reaching consequences for the country, has certainly raised questions about replacement of labour. Here's what you must consider when it comes to replacement labour.

Strikes can have a number of unpleasant consequences for your business. For the motor industry, this has meant vehicle output of about 3,000 units a day in South Africa has been affected.

That's why you need to know how to respond when your employees resort to strike action.

One way to respond is to hire replacement labour. But before you do, consider this...

What to consider if you want to hire replacement labour due to strike action

According to the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service, replacement labour, whether supplied by a labour broker, hiring casuals or redeploying non-striking employees, will be subject to intimidation and possibly assault, whether physical or verbal.

This is especially true where drivers move goods in and out of your company premises.

You're entitled to hire replacement labour if you wish to continue your business or if you believe the strike may be protracted. BUT, you need to ensure this labour is protected.

This means you need to take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of these workers. You can, for instance, install CCVTV camera's, hire additional independent security and make the union aware of these measures to reinforce their obligation to control their members.

Well there you have it. When it comes to replacement labour, think about how long the strike will take and the safety on the workers you want to hire for the duration of the strike. 

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