Articles

BY   lvan lsraelstam, Chief Executive of Labour Law Management Consulting. He may be contacted on (011) 888-7944 or 0828522973 or on e-mail address: ivan @labourlawadvice.co.za.

2015 saw a number of painful strikes including the Post Office strike.

In the interests of averting the disaster that strikes can cause the parties need to understand their effects and remedies.

The employer is likely to lose money due to delayed service to clients or to lost production time. The employees will lose their pay due to the no work, no pay principle. If the strikers are dismissed they will lose their livelihoods altogether.

Once the strike is over, even if the business has not been closed down by it,

the feelings of hostility resulting from the strike can severely damage teamwork, productivity and profitability.

Before the conflict gets to the stage of impasse that results in a strike the parties need to utilise the services of an expert in conflict resolution. However, in practice, the warring parties too often go to the CCMA because the law says they must rather than in a sincere attempt to sort out their differences. In other words, by the time the parties end up at the CCMA the conflict is often beyond the point of no return.

For this reason, during times of industrial peace, employers and employees should identify and agree upon the use of a trained and reputable conflict resolution expert to be called in when the parties are unable to solve the problem themselves.

Employees should remember that any misconduct during a strike is still subject to discipline. Therefore they should avoid damage to property, intimidation, disrupting of business and acts of violence. Employers should avoid provoking the anger of strikers in order to prevent the escalation of the conflict.

Employees should allow the business to continue to run in order to avert the likelihood of a closure that could result in job losses. Both parties should behave in a civil and professional manner towards each other.

HOW TO BRING A STRIKE TO A SPEEDY END

Where the parties are unable to find common ground they should not delay in bringing in the services of their mutually agreed strike resolution expert. An expert in this field will not only have techniques of bringing the parties together but will also be able to see solutions that the emotions of the parties have prevented them from seeing.

The expert should also be able to help the parties rebuild their relationship once the strike is over.

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