THE DUTY OF CARE; PROTECTING STAFF & ASSETS DURING STRIKE ACTION

Issued by Perfect Word Consulting

In 2014, the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC) delivered on the signing of a Metal Industry Settlement Agreement, which will be in effect until 30 June 2017. The agreement was the result of the 2014 metal workers’ strike, and serves to ensure stable and sound relationships between labour and business in the industry.

At the time, the MEIBC General Secretary, released the following statement; “After a bruising four-week strike in the metals and engineering industries, employers and trade unions today signed a historic three-year wage agreement ending the strike and opening the way for a return to work by thousands of striking workers across the country. The nation-wide strike which commenced on 1 July (2014), supported by five of the industry’s biggest trade-unions, lasted a record four weeks.”

Signed by, amongst others, the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) –the biggest metal workers trade union in the country – the agreement determines the industry standard in terms of: wage increases; labour relations and brokers; work reorganisation; short time and shifts; shop stewards; benefits; workplace safety; and so on.

With a view to the future, prudent participants in the metal and engineering industries should steel themselves for the strikes that will commence once the agreement expires. The 2014 strikes had a devastating effect on the sector and the national economy, with lock-outs being enforced and tensions rising to an all-time high.

As NUMSA members undoubtedly prepare to strike again, security considerations and preparations must be made. “Labour unrest can often lead to vandalism, physical assault, property invasion and intimidation,” advises Kyle Condon, Managing Director of D&K Management Consultants, specialising in investigations and risk consultancy. “While negotiations occur, businesses should consider the protection of their staff, service providers, property and brand.”

Qualified strike protection teams deliver on hostile environment risk management and provide reliable first-hand evidence should any strike action lead in a trial; all while protecting the business’ perimeter and offering on-site first aid response. “Innovative protection teams offer the services of specialist hostile video recording operatives, providing hard video evidence against those that break the law,” adds Condon. “This ensures that those striking will be held accountable, should they engage in any act deemed as illegal or criminal.”

According to NUMSA, members who are employed in the metal, iron, steel and engineering industry participate in these national strikes to press for improvements on wages, benefits and conditions of employment. During the previous strike, the Union further stated that it does not condone or support violence and intimidation during strike action – this after acts of criminality and violence, including damage to property, were committed.

In any hostile situation, where masses gather with a common cause, violence is inevitable,” concludes Condon. “Strikes often cost their industry dearly in a lack of productivity and income. This is unavoidable. What is avoidable is becoming a victim of the related criminal acts – in these instances, protection is essential. With effective pre-strike preparedness surveys the right protection will be in place timeously.”

For more information, or to book a pre-strike preparedness survey, contact D&K Management Consultants: saint@intrigue.co.za.

Boilerplate:

Established in 1993 by Declan and Kyle Condon, D&K Management Consultants is firmly entrenched as the preferred investigations and risk consultancy provider in Africa and abroad. Declan’s legacy is a wealth of investigative skills and experience, which - combined with Kyle’s vast understanding of risk analysis and security management - are applied to every case file handled by the company.

With a significant handpicked force of investigators and security specialists, D&K Management Consultants provides criminal and civil investigations on behalf of companies or individuals from every sector. The same level of discretion and dedication is afforded to each and every client, whether they are blue chip or local community. Assisting clients to operate in a hostile business environment is a D&K speciality. Criminal and civil investigations are simply the key required to unlock the door leading to successful loss control portfolios.

For more information, visit www.investigations.co.za.

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