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What are the benefits of a lock out?

by , 06 September 2013
Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant has called for a swift end to strikes over wage increases. According to reports, the minister has said that talks need not always result in industrial action. The minister's comments come as South Africa faces a wave of strikes in the gold mining, automobile, airline, electricity and construction sectors. As the strikes continue, one of the options companies have is to give notice of a lock out. Read on to discover the benefits of a lockout...

Strikes have terrible consequences! You'll already have seen this with the strikes currently taking place in South Africa.

But the good news is, labour law doesn't only benefit your employees, it's your side as an employer too.

And by law, you can implement a lock out when your employees have embarked on a strike.

What exactly is a lock out and how will it benefit your business?

A lock out in response to a strike, called a defensive lock-out, simply means that employees may not return to work until they've dropped their demands.

If you give notice of lock out, you're changing the power play in that it's no longer up to the striking employees when they return to work.

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service explains that union officials and shop stewards often don't tell their members about your right to lock out. This means employees are often caught off guard when you give notice of the lock out to the union.

To be clear about your processes, make sure you place the notice of lock out on your company's notice board so all your employees are aware of this fact.

A word of caution: If you institute an offensive lock out (a lockout that's not in response to a strike where employees must accept your demand to return to work) you won't be entitled to use replacement labour.

An offensive lock out sends a strong message to striking employees that you're serious about your offer.

If the lock out is used in conjunction with continuing negotiations, which it should, it may result in a settlement of strike.

Well there you have it. Labour law is on your side. Use a lockout if you think it'll put an end to ongoing strike action.

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