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Strike — the other side of the story

I wish to send a news flash to many employers and others who don’t understand unions or how to deal with them. The keys to effective industrial relations are communication, proactive communication, knowing the collective bargaining agreements and patience.

In my submission last week I neglected to give the other side of a particular story and in the spirit of balanced and fair journalism I have an opportunity to do this.

Last week I lamented that now is not the time to fight Government, to strike whenever an opportunity exists or to take excessive industrial action. I am in no way distancing myself from that position. I still believe that now is not the time for strikes.

One of my favourite bloggers/readers asked the question, ”If not now, when?“ To that gentleman, who I respect dearly, I say that it is far better to sit down at a table and resolve the issues than to withdraw services or down tools. Nobody wins when you down tools.

Withdrawing services does not create the conditions for businesses to be profitable, establish consistency and consumer confidence, break even and it does not make a destination that is trying to recover from a recession look like it is serious about recovering from that recession.

I strongly believe that now is the time for communication, for dialogue, for peaceful means to resolve industrial disputes. I still believe that we cannot rebuild an economy if we are going to have strikes at every turn or as soon as an employee feels that he has been unfairly treated or that the management in the workplace has violated a collective bargaining agreement.

However, management has a duty to follow collective bargaining agreements, to use progressive discipline and to be fair. I’m not saying that management is not fair. What I am saying is that management has to make sure that its decisions, practices and actions are consistent with labour legislation.

In the case of the Works and Engineering employee who was suspended and caused his colleagues to go on strike, the general public may not know all the facts. Management conceded that it erred and that is one reason why a settlement was able to be reached.

However, my point, by which I stand, is that this could have been accomplished without a strike.

Staying in the spirit of balanced journalism I have to share that there is a downside to striking, which workers might like to consider along with the benefits.

I know of a few workers who did strike and became angry when they didn’t get paid for a full week at the next pay period, when they really needed that money. In life we have choices and consequences. For every choice we make, there is a consequence.

My last comment on this is that I have been on all sides of this issue; as an employee in the trenches, as an employee who felt that he had been unfairly treated by an employer, as a union advocate, as a business owner and as an employer/manager who acts on behalf of shareholders/stakeholders.

I conclude that the day that every employee becomes a business owner for a few months; and has to deal with industrial issues (some petty, some more serious), absenteeism, too many uncertified sick days, having to pay staff when you know that they are playing the system, having to pay staff who are playing the system whilst you can’t draw a salary from your own business, etc, is the day that we will start to have really fair industrial relations and a true, honest, partnership between management, workers and the unions, through which everybody wins.

Until and unless employees become business owners and have to pay out of their pockets for workers to not work, they will just not understand or ”Get it“.

When you’re the person paying the bills and the salaries out of your pocket whilst your staff are on strike, off sick too often and in suspicious circumstances (like the Monday after a holiday weekend such as Cup Match — just wait, it’s coming); all of a sudden, you have a completely different perspective from the one you had when you were a worker who saw things only from that point of view and might have been the one taking all that time off, taking advantage of the system or striking whenever it was felt necessary.

In the meantime, we have to just keep beating this drum, communicating with the unions better, learning the CBAs, exercising patience and hope that more employees will see the light and work the way they would want workers to work for them if they were the business owner and the person paying the bills.

The Top 20

Still at #1 is ‘Can’t Hold Us’ by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz

Way up to #2 is ‘Differentology’ by Bunji Garlin featuring Nigel Rojas.

Tumbling to #3 is ‘Sweet Nothing’ by Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch. I hear this one on the radio a lot.

Up to #4 is ‘Leh Go’ by Blaxx and the Roy Cape Band.

Improving to #5 is ‘Fog’ by Machel Montano.

Up to #6 is ‘Float’ by Machel Montano.

Slipping to #7 is ‘Beam Me Up (Kill Mode)’ By Cazzette.

Down to #8 is ‘When I Was Your Man’, by Bruno Mars.

Falling to #9 is ‘Started from the Bottom’ by Drake.

Tumbling to #10 is ‘Suit and Tie’, by Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z.

Way up to #11 is a former essential new tune, ‘Get Lucky’, by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams.

Up to #12 is ‘She Ready’ by Machel Montano.

Tumbling to #13 is ‘A Little Wine’ by Patrice Roberts, which is still rocking spots a year after its release.

Up to #14 is ‘People Like Us’ by Kelly Clarkson.

Improving to #15 is’ Play Hard’ by David Guetta featuring Ne-Yo, Akon and Nothing but the beat.

Up to #16 is last week’s essential new tune — ‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thick.

Slipping to #17 is ‘Thrift Shop’ by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz.

Down to #18 is ‘Scream and Shout’ by will.i.am and Britney Spears.

New at #19 is ‘Heart Attack’ by Demi Lovato, this week’s essential new tune.

In at #20 is ‘Live It Up’ by Pitbull featuring J-Lo. I actually prefer the other track these two prepared late last year, ‘Drinks for You (Ladies Anthem’) but will enjoy ‘Live It Up’ for now.

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Published June 28, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 27, 2013 at 5:23 pm)

Strike — the other side of the story

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