News of strikes is typically not news at all to many South Africans. Whether you are a newly established business with a small staff or a longstanding giant in your industry, you should be prepared for potential work interruptions – and strikes are certainly one of them! Ideally, you’re going to want to face the challenge of a strike with a strong legal insurance policy in your corner. If you find yourself having to deal with labour unions and striking employees during a time like this, here are some things to consider.
How To Deal With A Strike
Strike action is largely predictable and often falls into a set number of categories. An employed must be quick on his or her feet to stay on top of the situation. There are a number of things you can do to achieve this:
- If yours is a company that produces products for sale, the best strike preparation you can undertake is to increase your inventory. Salaried employees may have to take the place of those employees going on strike, which will mean investing in advance training. If the company has multiple locations, personnel may need to be redeployed to meet the needs of reduced staff.
- One typical response to strike actions by unions in the past has been to decline engaging in negotiations completely. This can push the strikers into a corner as they are faced with a number of uncertainties: do they stick to the original plan and rely on solidarity, or is there a chance the strike may be lost? And how long will the strike last? Will their jobs still be there if the strike fails? These questions are what will influence strikebreakers to cross the union’s picket line.
- Another traditional response from employers during a strike is a lockout. As the name implies, this is when an employer refuses to allow employees to resume their work.
- Finally, having business legal cover on hand can be a great help should you decide to enter into negotiations with the workers’ union. Legal cover can cover the cost of a lawyer’s fees as he or she advises you on this process.
How Businesses Lose Money During A Strike
- They either have insufficient business insurance or none at all. Without comprehensive business insurance (as well as some extra precautions), they are unable to properly protect their property, assets, and employees. In other words, facing a strike without enough insurance to protect your business can really cost you in the long run.
- They fail to build up their inventory enough before the strike gets underway.
- They wait too long to bring in a mediator. While a lawyer can assist you in protecting the interests of your company during these negotiations, a good mediator can help to navigate tensions, air emotions, and assist in both parties reaching a speedy and satisfactory resolution.