ZIMSEC O Level Business Studies Notes: Managing Human Resources: Trade Unions: Types of Industrial Action

  • If and when there is a failure in negotiations and conflict resolution employees may resort to industrial action
  • Industrial action refers to steps that employees can take to force management to accept their demands
  • There are various types of industrial action:
  • Withdrawal of cooperation
  • Work to rule
  • Overtime ban
  • Go slow
  • strike

Withdrawal of cooperation

  • This is when union leaders pull out of a negotiations with management

Work to rule

  • A form of industrial action where employees continue to report for work
  • They carry out their duties but drastically slow down the operations by punctilious adherence to a narrow interpretation of work rules included in the collective bargaining agreement.
  • ¬†Employees do no more than the minimum required by the rules of their contract, and precisely follow all safety or other regulations, which may cause a slowdown or decrease in productivity
  • For example drivers may insist on driving vehicles that have been serviced, have fire extinguishers etc
  • Mechanics may insist on certain spanners instead of using say a shifting spanner


  • is collective, organized, cessation or slowdown of work by employees, to force acceptance of their demands by the employer.
  • A strike usually takes place in response to employee grievances.
  • They are a form of collective bargaining
  • There are many types of strikes including:
  • wild cat strike- is when a strike is carried out by employees who either are not unionized or without the approval of union authorities
  • picketing- is when workers stand outside their workplace usually waving placards and chanting their grievances
  • Picketing workers may obstruct or prevent other employees from performing their duties or entering the workplace
  • Sit in/Sit down- is when workers report to their stations but do not perform any duties

Overtime ban

  • This is when workers refuse to work outside regular hours

Go slow/Slow down

  • Is when employees drastically reduce their productivity as a form of protest

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