Throughout December we have experienced continued strike action, involving NHS nurses, royal mail the civil service and national rail. This will continue to impact business in terms of disruption to normal business operations (post, business travel), but will also cause disruption to the lives of employees. It is recommended that businesses consider the impact of these strikes, as they are likely to continue in 2023 and plan for them accordingly. Here are some suggestions that may help:
How can Employers cope with strike action?
- Employers who do not currently offer working from home, may wish to consider allowing this when there are strikes on National rail and the London Underground, as a way of mitigating the impact of the disruption on productivity. For an employee, not needing to travel to work on these days will likely prove less stressful, especially those with family/caring responsibilities.
- If working from home isn’t an option, consider if staggering start and finish times so that employees are not commuting to work at peak time when travelling on alternative modes of transport. Disruption for the employee would be minimised when travelling at quieter times and you can get them attending work, which ultimately is better than them not doing any!
- If you operate a logging in system at the start and end of the day, then a temporary relaxation of disciplinary rules relating to lateness is another way in which employees can be supported.
- Consider if you can accommodate requests for time off from work either as annual leave or just unpaid leave for the employee to avoid travel entirely. The usual holiday processes should be used so that requests can be dealt with fairly.
- Employers must also consider the impact of postal strikes, especially on legal documentation, such as those relating to grievance, disciplinary or appeal outcomes. As well as formal meeting invites or correspondence relating to redundancy. These are all vitally important documentation and must be delivered in a timely manner. Think about alternative methods for ensuring the correspondence is delivered safely and in a timely way.
Last month we held a webinar that looked at Trade Unions and how you, as a business can work alongside them to ensure the best possible working conditions for employees.
Naturally, with the increase in strike action that we have witnessed this month, trade unions are very much in the news on a daily basis.
If you would like to learn more about how you can work with trade unions, you can watch our webinar on-demand here.