Labor Disputes

It is best to solve labor problems before they result in a dispute. Even the smallest problem left unresolved can quickly snowball into a full labor dispute affecting the entire workforce on a project. This however doesn’t mean that you should give in to unreasonable demands from the workforce. Rather, care should be taken to treat the workforce fairly within the structure of the workplace and project agreements. To give into requests additional to their entitlements often results in the workforce coming up with further demands. 

Unfortunately, many companies will face a labor dispute at some stage that degenerates into strike action. It is important that management is aware of the procedures to follow should there be a dispute, which may include:

  • Notifying company senior management and the human resources department

  • Notifying the client

  • Ensuring no employees are in danger

  • Checking that property and equipment are safe

  • Safely shutting down systems and operations

  • Meeting with worker representatives to understand the problems

  • Resolving issues if they are simple

  • Encouraging workers to return to work while their grievances are attended to

  • Ensuring that procedures are followed 

  • If there is a risk to property or life, notifying the police

  • Ensuring that staff remain calm

  • Avoiding inflammatory statements or antagonizing the workers 

  • If workers are unionized, make contact with union leaders to request assistance with resolving the issues

  • Ensuring only authorized representatives from the company deal with the press

  • Notifying management, the client and police as soon as workers return to work

  • Resolving any outstanding grievances promptly and keeping workers’ representatives informed of the progress

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