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Who forms strikes?
A trade union is an organisation that helps workers communicate with their employers. Most of the time the communications are for requesting more pay or better working conditions.
However, if these negotiations have no effect, it can lead to the trade union members supporting the workers. The union members show support to the workers by usually arranging a strike.
To arrange a legal strike, the trade union must plan and carry out a ballot for people to vote on. This ballot is where the participants vote by marking a box on voting paper and returning it in an envelope. At the end of the ballot, everyone has the entitlement to know the result of the vote.
For the strike to go ahead legally, the strike must have been voted in favour. If a ballot fails and doesn’t get over 50% for the strike, a re-ballot can be held to vote again. If the strike goes ahead despite being voted against, this is an illegal strike and can thus bear consequences.
You can claim unfair dismissal if you are dismissed for taking industrial action within 12 weeks from when the action started.
1. Will I lose pay if I go on strike?
You will not be paid for the days you strike as you haven’t worked. The law states that employers can deduct pay for strikes and also withhold pension contributions.
In some cases, you may get paid by your union. This is known as ‘strike pay.’
2. What if I am off sick on the day of a strike?
If you are off sick during a strike, your normal sick pay will apply. However, you may need to provide a doctor’s note to prove your absence.
3. Can I use annual leave on the day of a strike?
No – when on strike, employees can no longer claim their employee benefits. Booking annual leave on these days falls under such benefits.
However, if you were to book annual leave in advance, and a strike was to fall on that day, you will not be considered part of the strike action. This means pay deductions will not apply.
4. Can you strike while on probation period?
Yes – you can strike while on probation as you are still protected by the law.
5. Can I be sued for going on strike?
As striking is most likely a breach of your contract between you and your employer, your employer may have grounds to. However, this rarely happens.