Strikes can cripple your business – find out how to prevent them

Strikes can result in loss of productivity, angry customers, financial losses, injury, damage to property and soured employee relations. Find out how to minimise and deal with strikes at your workplace.

Who has the right to strike?

All employees have the right to go on strike. This right springs from the constitutional right to protest and engage in trade union activity.


Warning: Employees don’t have to be part of a trade union to go on strike. Previously, for a strike to be legal, 50% + 1 of your employees first had to vote in favour of it. But this requirement for a majority ballot has been scrapped since 11 November 2006.

Also, the concepts of legal and illegal strikes have been scrapped. Instead, we now have the concepts of protected and unprotected strikes.

When is a strike protected?

For a strike to be protected in the case of a dispute of interest, strikers must prove three things:

  1. They have referred the relevant dispute to the CCMA/bargaining council in an attempt to have the matter settled peacefully by a conciliator/mediator; and
  2. The CCMA/bargaining council has issued a certificate confirming that conciliation has failed to settle the dispute or a period of 30 days has expired since the date of referral of the dispute; and
  3. Strikers must also give notice in writing before they go on strike. However, the notice period differs. Order your copy of the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service to find out more…

Warning: You can’t dismiss employees for going on a protected strike, as the employees are ‘protected’ by law from dismissal (Section 67(4) of the LRA). In fact, such a dismissal will be regarded as automatically unfair.

Included in the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf:

  • 12 Steps to deal with protected strikes
  • Sample: Strike Ultimatum
  • How to deal with strike misconduct
  • How to prevent strikes
  • Checklist: 10 Point preparation strategy for a strike
  • 5 Steps to deal with an unprotected strike
  • Your own strike prevention strategy
  • Checklist: How to prepare your managers to deal with a strike

Make 100% sure you know whether your employees’ strike is protected or unprotected!

If you incorrectly assume the strike's unprotected and you dismiss the strikers, the cost to your business could be huge. If the Labour Court finds the strike to have been protected, not only will you have unfairly dismissed your workforce, but the dismissal may be found to be automatically unfair.

This means you may have to:

  • Pay each dismissed employee up to two years remuneration in compensation, or
  • Reinstate them with full back-pay calculated from the date of dismissal.

Order today to get advice and guidance on these topics also included in the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf:

  • The CCMA has processed over one million disputes and employees have won more than 50%! Are you prepared?
  • One in three employment contracts put the employer at a disadvantage
  • Planning a retrenchment? Watch out…
  • Do you know how to legally dismiss your employee?
  • Do your employees abuse their leave?
  • 14 Ways to comply with employment equity
  • Do you know one day’s absence can cost you 3 days’ salary? Start proactively dealing with absenteeism today!
  • Make sure you resolve employee grievances before they turn into major CCMA or Labour Court disputes!
  • How to make the law work for you when it comes to overtime
  • 10 Essential steps to dismissing for poor performance - have you covered all your bases?