The HR Playbook for Addressing Employee Strikes

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Employee strikes can be a challenging ordeal for businesses, often resulting in disruptions to operations, productivity losses, and potential harm to a company's reputation. As an HR professional in the UK, you play a critical role in managing and resolving these situations effectively. In this blog post, we will delve into the HR playbook for addressing employee strikes in the UK, offering valuable insights and strategies to navigate these complex labor disputes.

Understanding the Legal Landscape:

Before we dive into HR strategies, it's essential to grasp the legal framework governing employee strikes in the UK. Familiarise yourself with the Trade Union and Labor Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, which outlines the regulations surrounding industrial action, picketing, and balloting procedures. Staying compliant with these laws is the foundation of any HR response to employee strikes.

1. Proactive Communication

Promote open communication

Maintaining open lines of communication is crucial in preventing strikes. Foster a culture of transparency and dialogue within your business. Regularly engage with employee representatives, trade unions, and employees themselves to understand their concerns and address issues promptly. Early intervention can often prevent strikes from escalating.

2. Conflict Resolution and Mediation

Consider involving a professional mediator.

In cases where disputes cannot be resolved through dialogue alone, consider involving a professional mediator or arbitrator. Mediation can be an effective means of finding common ground and reaching mutually acceptable solutions. HR should play a central role in facilitating this process and ensuring fair negotiations.

3. Developing Contingency Plans

Develop contingency plans

As part of your HR playbook, create comprehensive contingency plans to minimise disruptions during strikes. These plans should include measures such as temporary staffing, remote work options, and clear guidelines for managers to follow. Adequate preparation can help mitigate the impact of strikes on your business operations.

4. Legal Compliance:

Maintain compliance throughout the strike process.

Ensure that your HR practices align with UK employment laws and regulations throughout the strike process. This includes adhering to notification and balloting requirements, providing accurate information to employees, and respecting their rights to participate in lawful industrial action. Non-compliance can lead to legal repercussions.

5. Employee Support and Welfare:

During a strike, maintain a focus on employee well-being.

During a strike, maintain a focus on employee well-being. Consider providing resources and support services to employees affected by the strike, such as access to counseling, financial advice, or temporary alternative employment options. Demonstrating care for your employees can help mitigate animosity and facilitate a smoother resolution.

6. Post-Strike Evaluation:

Conduct a thorough post-strike evaluation.

Once a strike is resolved, conduct a thorough post-strike evaluation with the aim of learning from the experience. Identify areas where HR processes and communication can be improved to prevent future strikes. This ongoing self-assessment will help your business better handle employee disputes in the long run.


Addressing employee strikes in the UK requires a well-structured HR approach that balances legal compliance, proactive communication, and a commitment to employee welfare. By following the HR playbook outlined in this article, you can navigate these challenging situations more effectively, protect your business’s interests, and maintain a positive workplace environment. Remember, every situation is unique, and adaptability is key when managing employee strikes in the ever-evolving landscape of employee relations in the UK.


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