Staff Guaranteed to Never Strike Again

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Innovative Staffing Solutions has made history by being the first company in South Africa to guarantee that none of its employees will engage in industrial action of any nature.

Staff Guaranteed to Never Strike Again
Image Courtesy Innovative Staffing Solutions 

Following a 4-month negotiation process, Innovative Staffing Solutions and the National Transport Movement (NTM) union, have agreed that none of Innovative Staffing Solutions’ 10,000+ staff members will partake in unprotected strikes or go-slows. The agreement also entails that NO STRIKES will be registered with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). All labour related disputes will have to be resolved through a process of arbitration.

“Very often the employees of a business do not want to strike, because they know as soon as they strike they will not be paid for the days they have missed work. This agreement protects employees whilst giving them a better platform to deal with grievances, by going the route of an independent arbitration,”

says Managing Director of Innovative Staffing Solutions, Arnoux Maré.

But Maré says arbitration will be the last resort. Both Innovative Staffing Solutions and NTM will enter negotiations when either party has grievances.

“In the agreement we state that any party can call a meeting and the other party must attend that meeting. The aim of this agreement is to get employer, union and employee to work as one,”

Maré says. 

He further dismissed the notion of the agreement between Innovative Staffing Solutions and NTM contravening the workers’ right to strike.

“We are not taking away employees right to strike. But even the law recognises that industrial action is only a viable recourse when all other avenues have been exhausted.  At Innovative Staffing Solutions we develop solutions or recourses that will resolve grievances without involving industrial action. We are always open to negotiations and are willing to go the arbitration route should negotiations stall. Both the employer and union must accept the independent arbitrator,”

Maré explains.

The agreement between Innovative Staffing Solutions and NTM will be effective for three years. The agreement is a milestone for industrial relations which saw the employer and the union work together for the greater good of not only the company but also the workers and the economy.

According to the Department of Labour, the South African labour economy lost approximately R161 million due to work stoppages in 2016 and lost R116 million in 2015.

This at the time when the country was experiencing very low economic growth, where the National Treasury predicted a 0.5% growth rate for 2016, rising to 1.3% for 2017.

“This agreement is a milestone for both employees and the employer. It gives decision making to employees. Employees will no longer simply be part of the process, but will actually have a say in how things play out. Workers will have a stronger voice, and production does not need to stop because employer and employees are in a disagreement with each other,”

says Ephraim Mphahlele, General Secretary of NTM.  

Although Innovative Staffing Solutions has only ever had one strike in its 7-year history, which lasted a total of four hours, Maré says he is aware of how industrial action has become a bullying tactic employed by unions, instead of being a means to an end to ensure better working conditions.

“It’s not supposed to be a fight between unions and employer. It should be about two groups of people working together for the betterment of the company. This agreement allows us to be able to deal with disciplinary action in a much fairer and equitable manner. It also equals the playing field for all parties,”

Maré concludes. 

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