Seeking an injunction is costly and time consuming. There are often no winners – if you obtain an injunction because of a technical flaw in the union’s procedures, the union is usually able to start again with (for example) a fresh ballot. In reality you may only delay, rather than prevent, a strike.
The best way to manage the situation is to maintain good industrial relations and use negotiation as a method of dealing with a potential strike :-
- Be proactive in addressing disputes and grievances: develop good communication policies and procedures. This will help your employees to approach you and discuss issues before they resort to more militant measures such as industrial action.
- Address issues as soon as your employees raise them: create an environment that allows for compromise from both you and your employees.
- Have an open door policy with any trade union representative in your company: this way, your employee representatives can discuss any issues of concern when they need to. You'll be able to address these issues and sort them out immediately.
- Consult with the union on all important issues: many unions call industrial action as a response to what they see as peremptory action by employers, where the employer takes action quickly without proper consultation.
- Be flexible: you can’t win all the time – the union might be right, and surrendering to (for example) a pay demand this year may make the union more flexible when it comes to other negotiations.
- Pursue ‘hearts and minds’: effective communication with the workforce is crucial; sometimes your employees might agree with you that the union demands are excessive, and might decide not to vote for industrial action.