Industrial action is used where employees want new or better conditions at the workplace and wish to use strike action in a ‘dispute of interest’ which involves creating new terms and conditions of their employment. Stayaways, strikes, work stoppages, go-slows, work-to-rule, and union bans on overtime, and lock-outs, are all forms of industrial action. Industrial action can be protected (legal) or unprotected.
Protected industrial action complies with the rules and procedures set out in the Labour Relations Act (LRA). If the industrial action complies with the law, then employees may not be dismissed by their employer for taking such action.
Unprotected industrial action does not comply with the rules and procedures set out in the LRA. The courts are not sympathetic towards employees who go on an unprotected strike. If an employer dismisses employees who go on an unprotected strike, it is not likely that the court will help these employees.