As we know all too well from history, staff and senior management don’t always see eye-to-eye in the workplace.
Those of you that actually bother to read your employment contracts will know that your terms and conditions are not as simple as turning up on time and doing a decent day’s work for a salary. They contain clauses that may require you not to work for a competitor when you leave for example. The contract may insist that you refrain from doing any, ‘consultancy,’ work for clients or that you don’t go off and write a book about how insane your boss is when you leave.
Here at The W1nners’ Club therefore, we understand that sometimes the little guy needs a helping hand through the maze of industrial relations legislation.
If you do decide to dust down that old Che Guevara t-shirt you used to wear at Uni and go on strike, there are certain rules you will have to obey to make sure you don’t end up doing porridge rather than simply demanding it gets subsidised in the staff canteen.
Going on strike
Now that you’ve put your donkey jacket on and have written out your placards (probably best to get somebody that can spell to write out your message as, “strycke 4 mor pae!” might not win you much sympathy from the general public), you’ll need to form your picket line. This is basically a situation where you and your colleagues stand outside the office and get to tell anyone that will listen why you are on strike. You are allowed to ask people that are not involved in the strike not to do some of their usual work or even to join you in the strike – this is permitted as long as you adhere to the following rules:
- You must not prevent people from entering the office, so no tripping your boss up as they walk past just because he or she asked you if your time off work is coming out of your annual leave.
- Threatening or abusive behaviour in general directed at people walking past or crossing the picket line isn’t allowed legally – although you might get away with doing the, ‘wanker,’ sign behind their backs.
- You are not allowed to block people or vehicles that are trying to get into the office car park and whilst throwing rotting vegetables at the boss’s Rolls Royce is not necessarily causing an obstruction, it may get you into trouble for breaching the peace.
- Weapons of any kind are not allowed on a picket line, so if you bring along a guillotine for PR reasons – make sure it isn’t a real one.
- No damage to property is permitted on a picket line so if you must throw rotten foodstuffs at the boss’s car, we suggest tomatoes, cabbages or other such softer items.
- You are not allowed to cause a breach of the peace when manning a picket line. Here at The W1nners’ Club we have tried to mull over exactly what a breach of the peace is and we came to the conclusion that it basically means anything people get up to after drinking more than five pints of Stella Artois (hope this helps).
- The blocking of roads is not permitted near your picket line, so you can forget all that stuff you’ve seen on the news about Northern Ireland during, ‘the troubles.’
- The police must be free to do their job despite your picket line so you’ll need to make sure none of your fellow pickets turns up wearing a fancy dress London Bobby helmet as an ironic protest against the inevitable forthcoming baton charge.
- Trespassing is not allowed during a picket line protest so no popping into the office for a quick wee – no matter how desperate you are because: (a) Your pass will probably no longer work and (b) it may undermine your perceived commitment to the revolution amongst comrades.
- Noise nuisance is also not allowed on a picket line. We suggest you either rehearse your rendition of, ‘Red Flag,’ before the strike begins, or make sure your fellow pickets are primarily drawn from the local choral society.
- No threatening language or offensive material is allowed in leaflets, banners, placards, speeches or chants – so please refrain from repeating any of the stuff you sing when you go to watch your team play football on a Saturday.
- No more than 6 people are allowed to gather outside the entrance to a workplace during a strike so strictly speaking, cigarette breaks are tantamount to a major insurrection if one is actually taking place at the time of the strike.
- If you and your fellow strikers move to other workplaces to picket there, you will technically be known as, ‘flying pickets.’ This is highly illegal and no – you won’t get a recording contract once the strike is over!