We are still involved in the so-called Strike Season. We have been through some interesting strikes such as SAA and Pick ‘n Pay and the contrast between the way SAA and Pick ‘n Pay handled the Strikes was enormous.
Pick ‘n Pay were a fantastic example as to how to handle the public and how to ensure that the operation continued, despite the enormous disruptions. There should be no fear of strikes as management can properly handle same.
It should be noted that in our legislation a strike would be illegal unless the parties have proceeded to the Bargaining Council or the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration and they have been given proper notification of a commencement of a strike. A protected strike must comply with Section 64 and 65 of the Labour Relations Act No. 66 of 1995. It is also noted that employees are not paid whilst on strike and an employer can bring in scab labour. The deliberate disruption of the business by striking workers can lead to disciplinary hearings and dismissals. There is a specific process in warning employees who are on illegal strikes and who are maybe on authorised strikes but disrupting the business.
This process must be carefully planned and executed as a dispute in the Labour Court at a later stage is normally won on how management handled the process. There is also a specific structure in which the parties can negotiate picket rules and how increased offers of wages can be communicated. Should anyone wish to have more information on strikes, avoiding same and the rules attached thereto, please contact our offices.
MICHAEL BAGRAIM BA. LLB.
BAGRAIMS ATTORNEYS (LABOUR LAWYERS)