Everything HR needs to know about employees going on strike

Everything HR needs to know about employees going on strike

Passengers of railway operator Southern have been hit by travel chaos with train drivers staging a series of strikes.

Members of the Aslef union, the UK union for train drivers and operators in all forms of rail transport, from London Underground to Eurostar, have been in an ongoing dispute with Southern rail over the proposed changes to the role of conductors.

And whilst the 300,000 commuters who have faced disruption over the past few months may believe that a sunny getaway could give them a rest of tirelessly waiting in the cold - they may need to rethink their plans as airports may also be affected by industrial action over the Christmas period.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic will discuss averting strikes by British Airways cabin crew over Christmas at Acas on Monday, but if they do not reach a compromise, members of Unite are due to strike on Christmas Day and Boxing Day in a dispute over pay – The Guardian reports.  

Adding to the slew of strikes, more than 3,000 Post Office workers took industrial action on Monday over proposed branch closures and pay.

We spoke to Beverley Sunderland, Managing Director of Crossland Employment Solicitors, about worker’s legal rights and the role of trade unions when it comes to strikes.

She advises employers to go through the following steps to avert future strike action: “It is possible to scrutinise every element of the process to ensure that the union has done everything correctly and if not, then apply to the High Court for an injunction to prevent the strike from going ahead. Southern Rail tried this and failed. However, this just delays the inevitable.

“However, the best advice to prevent a strike is talking to the unions and employees. Unions are generally run by intelligent people who are standing up for the rights of their members and will be reasonable.

“If your staff do strike then remember you can’t hire in additional staff to cover for striking employees but you can use existing staff to try and cover any shortfall. The best way to avoid a strike is through negotiation and ACAS offer an excellent service to assist with this.”

“Employees involved in official strike action are protected from being dismissed. If a trade union is involved, then a majority of a union’s members involved must support a strike in a properly organised secret postal vote - a ‘ballot’.”

Sunderland continues explaining how organised workplace ballots are organised according to legal rules on the next page…

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