WORKERS are striking in 2023 in order to fight for better working conditions and pay.
But are employers able to sack you if you take part in one? Here's all you need to know.
Can I get sacked for going on strike?
Employees have the legal right to take industrial action, and by law, they cannot be legally forced to stay or go to work.
According to GOV.UK, you can’t be dismissed for industrial action if:
- It’s called as a result of a properly organised ballot
- It’s about a trade dispute between workers and their employer (eg about your terms and conditions)
- A detailed notice about the industrial action (which is legally required) has been given to the employer at least 7 days before it begins
After 12 weeks, your employer could sack you if they have made a legitimate attempt to resolve the situation.
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You could be dismissed for taking part in industrial action if:
- The union hasn’t held a properly organised ballot
- The union hasn’t given the employer the correct notice for balloting members or taking action
- The union hasn’t called its members to take action because they think the dispute is settled or action is called by someone who doesn’t have the authority to do so
- It’s in support of workers taking action against another employer (otherwise known as ‘sympathy’ or ‘secondary’ action)
- It’s in support of only employing union members (otherwise known as a ‘closed shop’)
- It breaks any other parts of industrial action law
If you take part in industrial action that breaks the regulations and you’re dismissed, you can’t usually claim unfair dismissal if all employees taking part are dismissed as well.
Why do employees go on strike?
Employees can go on strike for a number of different reasons, from disputes over pay to working conditions.
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It is used as a bargaining tool in order for workers to attempt to secure a better deal.
Do you get paid while on strike?
If you take industrial action, it is likely that you will be in breach of contract, which means that the employer doesn't have to pay you.
In rare cases, the employer can take legal action against you for the breach.
How long do employees strike for?
Workers have 12 weeks to strike.
In this period, workers are protected form dismissal as long as they have followed the correct guidance on how to properly organise a strike.
Teachers, civil servants, train drivers, security guards, bus drivers and airport staff went on strike in February 2023 in the biggest day of industrial action for more than a decade.
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