The Role of Employers When Workers Are On Strike
Written by Geoff Newman on 6/21/2010
Strikes are taken up by workers to ensure either their job securities or other concessions that they tend to acquire from their employers. The strike can be for different reasons: either to demand a pay rise or to challenge pay reductions by an employer. The workers may stop working completely or they may stop doing any kind of overtime, or sometimes simply not go by the rules set by an employer. Basically a group of workers go on a strike if they are treated unfairly by their employers. These strikes can be quite harmful for the organisation and the employer as well.
It is really very important to know whether the actions taken are official and protected or unofficial and unprotected because this affects the rights of an employer. Actions are termed as official when the workers or union members follow all the relevant procedures involved in the process and issue a statement while carrying out lawful actions. Hence it is protected. In contrast, if the union members or workers do not fulfil the lawful actions and follow the procedures and rules to carry out such action then it is termed as unofficial and unprotected.
If the strikes are official and protected then it ensures job security for the workers, because such actions if taken otherwise may be harmful for their employment contracts and may end in a form of dismissal. The dismissal of an employee is termed as fair only if it arises 12 weeks after the end of the protected strike. Employees can also be fired though if they continue protesting after the protected period has ended, or if the employer has negotiated fairly but still the employee is not satisfied. In this case dismissal is treated as a fair decision.
Workers who take part actively in unprotected and unofficial strikes can easily be dismissed by the employer as he has the right to do so since the participants have no protection. If employees are breaching the contract in a serious manner, then the employer may treat them with a dismissal instead of having to negotiate with them in any way.
But employers should consider other options instead of dismissals. An employer only wants an end to disruptions as soon as possible, and for the troublemakers to learn their lesson so that future strikes can be avoided. Employers may have to compensate the employees accordingly and have to make sure that the relationships are rebuilt in a way that ensures that future disruptions could be avoided. It is very important to make sure that no such actions arise in the future, as there may be a chance that these actions simply get worse every time.