A strike is the temporary withdrawal of services by a group of workers with an aim to express a grievance or push a bargaining demand. Labor organizations or workers organize strikes, whereby they take to the streets in solidarity to a common goal. Strikes first came into use during the industrial revolution after mass labor became a common phenomenon due to a change of means of production to factories and mines. Strikes bring about various advantages and disadvantages.
The first advantage is that strikes allow workers to protest actions by the employer they deem unfair without fear of losing their jobs. Labor laws legally protect strikes. In many cases, workers face several challenges in their places of work, which they fear airing out due to repercussion or ignorance by the management. Such problems include unwarranted firing, poor working conditions, low wages, discrimination and excessive working hours. Thus, through strikes, they get the freedom to present them to the management. Additionally, they give them the power and authority to plan such an action that pushes workers’ involvement in the administration of companies or industries where they work.
Strikes help workers carry out negotiations. When workers go on strike, employers have no alternative but to sit and deliberate with them out of fear of repercussions and losses. The labor laws require employers to discuss the demands of employees immediately and have an obligation to solve the problems quickly. Moreover, several ramifications such as tarnishing of reputation, loss of revenue and clients, are other concerns for employers. Consequently, employers involuntary negotiate with trade unions to come up with better deals.
The employees’ demands are realized immediately resulting in better working conditions. Strikes put to prominence the various concerns of workers. Since employers fear the losses of business, income, and profits, they quickly offer better deals to the workers such as higher wages, improved conditions of work places and better housing among others.
Contrary, strikes pose adverse effects. First, it affects the growth of the economy. Striking for short or extended periods of time, results in the loss of revenue for a country as companies and factories are not conducting their usual mandate of producing products. The lack of production creates a deficiency in the market, which reduces the purchases made by people in a country. Hence, a company’s income from purchases decreases, resulting in reduced revenue for the government. Moreover, some strikes turn chaotic resulting in destruction of property that necessitate funds for their repair.
Secondly, it leads to losses to both employers and employees. Strikes leads to losses of business and revenue for employers as when workers down their tool, everything in their places of work comes to a standstill. Employers have to also deal with negative feedback from customers, investors and other people, which may result in boycotting of their products or investing in their companies, when workers raise various complaints. Moreover, when a strike is legal and it lasts for a longer period, an industry may opt to employ temporary workers who pose additional cost to the industry as they still pay the striking workers. Employees, also are in danger of losing their wages and benefits such as medical aid insurance, sick leave and holiday pay that cover the period when on strike. Additionally, a worker who fails to join others in an industrial action may face harassment, discrimination and loss of friends.
Strikes are a form of employees expressing their grievances by stopping to work. Strikes are beneficial to employees as they give them an avenue to voice their complaints without fear of termination; they push employers to the negotiation table and ensure the meeting of their demands. However, they are detrimental to the entire society through negatively influencing the economy and imposing losses on both employees and employers.