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Sheffield Office

Tram Strikes on Tramlines Weekend

23 July 2018
Harriet Gardner

Issues for Employers

We hear people from all kinds of business’ go on Strike at one time or another… But is it more hassle than its worth?

In business terms, a strike can be understood as a refusal of workers going into work. It involves dropping out of work by any number of workers, employed in a particular industry, with an aim of creating pressure on the employers to accept their demands which relate to their pay scale, working conditions or trade practices.

Workers on public transport going on a Strike is slightly unusual and unheard of.  However, currently, drivers and conductors are striking on Sheffield’s Supertram network this week because they feel they run a premium service but don’t get paid accordingly, as stated by union members.

Phil Bown, who is from the union Unite, admitted the money that has been offered is “Just not enough to satisfy the demands and aspirations of our members.” On the Supertram network.

Conductors who work on the Sheffield service earn less than £10 an hour and the drivers are on £11 an hour. But employers are seeking an increase because they believe a premium service is being run.

The matter was not settled and this past weekend there was a 72-hour strike over one of the city’s busiest events; Tramlines festival.

People often wonder if going on strike is illegal and if it affects their job. However, a strike is a form of industrial action. Although each employee will be in breach of their contract of employment, the union and its officials calling the strike will be protected against legal action, provided the strike has been called in accordance with the law.

Strikers sometimes revert to Picketing. The term ‘Picketing’ is where workers and union reps stand outside a workplace to tell other people why they are striking. Pickets may also ask people not to do some of their usual work or go to work. While this is also not illegal, Pickets must not prevent people from going to work or doing their usual work if they want to do so.

If going on Strike, it is important you take into consideration if your actions would have consequences. More often than not, people can get carried away when they are passionate about what they believe to be right and this could result in losing the job you are on Striking for.

Going on Strike should also be for the right reasons and not just because your employees are doing so.

For more information on Striking or your employment rights, contact our Employment Team on 0114  272 1884