HR Hartley

Encourage union action to discourage strikers

Urge the trade union members among your staff to get more actively involved
with their union. That’s this week’s advice. If you think it sounds mad, then
read on…

The advice carries slightly devious undertones – it will make your employees
believe that you really want to see them looked after. However, this approach
will mask your ulterior motives.

Have you noticed that whenever anyone decides to go on strike, the actual
amount of people who determine that your employees are going to take the day
off is but a tiny fraction of those eligible to make that decision?

Take the recent British Airways check-in staff ballot. It was won on a 53
per cent majority. But this majority was actually made up of the 48 per cent of
members who voted.

If you do the maths, that means about 25 per cent of the electorate decided
to go for industrial action. It is the tyranny of the minority.

I suspect the 50-plus per cent who didn’t vote failed to do so because they
didn’t actually want to strike, but feared the backlash from the colleagues who

If you mobilise the worrywarts, who are probably on your side anyway, by
telling them that voting in strike ballots is their right and duty, I think you
might be pleasantly surprised by the results. You might even avoid strike
action altogether.

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