Section 2 (q) of the Industrial Disputes Act defines:
Strike means a cessation of work by a body of persons employed in any industry acting in combination, or a concerted refusal, or a refusal under a common understanding, of any number of persons who are or have been so employed to continue to work or to accept employment.
The following essential requirements for the existence of a strike:
- There must be cessation of work.
- The cessation of work must be by a body of persons employed in any industry;
- The strikers must have been acting in combination;
- The strikers must be working in any establishment which can be called industry within the meaning of Section 2(j); or
- There must be a concerted refusal; or
- Refusal under a common understanding of any number of persons who are or have been so employed to continue to work or to accept employment;
They must stop work for some demands relating to employment, non-employment or the terms of employment or the conditions of labour of the workmen.
- Recognition Strike: Typical strike often resulted to pressurize the employer to recognize the value of workers and deal with them.
- Economic Strike: When the strike is due to an economic issue, like better pay, bonus, benefits, working hours, and working conditions, it is called an economic strike.
- Sympathy Strike: When more employee union join the strike initiated by another union, to support them, it is a sympathy strike.
- Sit down Strike: Strike in which the employees strike while remaining at their job in the factory.
- Wildcat Strike: When the strike is unauthorized and not supported by the labour union, it is called a wild cat strike.
- Go-slow Strike: In this form of strike, workers do not work at normal speed, which is usually regarded as misconduct, rather than strike.
- Hunger Strike: A strike in which all or some of the workers fast, is called a hunger strike.
Lock-Out means the employer temporarily closes down the factory or any unit of the enterprise, where numerous workers are employed, to handle the uncontrollable situation, till the issues are resolved. It is used to compel the workers to agree and resume the work as per the terms and conditions of the employers.
It may result in a huge loss to both the parties, i.e. management and workers. In fact, frequent lock-outs may lead to the permanent shut down of the factory which leads to the loss of jobs on a large scale.
Lock-Out involves partial or full temporary locking down of the workplace or halting operations or denial by the employer to continue employment, of a certain number of employees with an aim of enforcing demands or showing grievance or to support other employers. It encompasses:
- Temporary shut down of the factory or unit.
- The industry is locked out to enforce demand or terms and conditions.
- Intended to reopen the factory or unit when workers agree to work, as per the demand of the management and also to scale down the worker’s demand.
|Meaning||Strike refers to the suspension of work by the workers or employees, so as to compel the employer, to agree to their demands.||Lock-out is when the employer compels the workers to accept his terms and conditions, by shutting down the factory.|
|What is it?||Organized and collective withdrawal of labor supply.||Withholding the demand for labor.|
|Tactic||Union power tactic||Employer power tactic|
|Objective||To gain redressal of the grievance, or to cause change through it.||To gain an advantage by inflicting proprietary rights over the workers.|
|Used to||Initiate or resist change in their working conditions.||Force employees to return to work.|
Prevention of Strikes
It’s critical that employers know the difference between lawful and unlawful strikes, because that can determine the course of action necessary to keep the company operational. When there is the potential that employees could go on strike, a company must have someone responsible for developing a strike contingency plan and for setting the company’s priorities in such a plan that will enable the company to meet business demand. For example, if an organization normally produces 100,000 products each week, the company has to decide if it must keep up with that business demand during the strike, or if it can drop its production to 75,000 products a week and still be profitable.
Incorporate “No-Strike,” “No-Lockout” Clause
If a union does organize, you should ensure the CBA includes a “no-strike” and “no-lockout clause.” A “no-strike clause” prohibits a union from calling for, participating in, or condoning a strike or picketing activity. A “no-lockout” clause precludes an employer from engaging in a lockout. A lockout occurs when an employer withholds work from an employee to obtain more desirable outcomes for the employer in connection with collective bargaining. The inclusion of a “no-lockout” clause may be for the purposes of reaching an agreement with the bargaining unit. The union isn’t likely to agree not to strike unless the employer also agrees not to lock employees out.
The problem with “no-strike” clauses is that they expire when the contract expires, so the union can go on strike if there’s no agreement reached before then. But “no-strike” clauses are still valuable. To understand why, keep in mind that there are two types of strikes: ULP strikes and economic strikes.
Since employees’ right to strike is protected by law, once you learn that a strike is inevitable, as a business owner, there’s little you can do to prevent an actual strike from happening. Proactive measures and complying with federal labor laws from the moment you open your doors for business can prevent issues that lead to the adversarial labor-management relationships that often occur. Engage in fair employment practices, give workers respect, give them recognition and competitive wages in exchange for their talents and contributions, and resolve workplace issues before they escalate out of control.
Strike Contingency Plan
A strike contingency plan includes staffing alternatives, options for using current employees who will not be out on strike, and exploring permanent or temporary replacement workers. Strike contingency plans should also address the logistics of continuing the business operations, despite striking workers. Some employers contract security forces to discourage striking workers from engaging in misconduct, such as blocking the premises to replacement workers.
During an economic strike, employers can hire permanent replacement workers. The company cannot fire the striking workers because they may be entitled to reinstatement upon the strike’s end, if there is a position available after permanent replacements have been hired. Businesses with high product demand or complex operations must consider the impact that replacement workers will have on the quality, availability and sustainability of their products or services. When labor and management negotiations seem to be inching towards impasse, employers should be contemplating a strike contingency plan. On the other hand, an unfair labor practices strike can end when the company ceases activities that violate the NLRA, thus making the term of the strike easier to predict. The company can’t give replacement workers permanent jobs in such a strike; it must reinstate the workers who went out on strike.