How To Protect Your Business From The Impact Of Employee Strikes

Strikes, like the upcoming train strike, impact both individuals and businesses. However, startups are particularly vulnerable compared to more established companies. The disruption caused by strikes can affect operations, leading to delays in deliveries, meetings, and overall productivity.

For startups, which often operate with lean resources and tight schedules, even minor disruptions can have great consequences. Therefore, it’s crucial for businesses, especially startups, to consider a backup plan to ease the effects of strikes.

How can businesses and startups protect themselves from the impact of strikes?


How Does The Upcoming Strike Impact Individuals?


Train passengers across the UK are likely to face significant disruption due to industrial action by train drivers at 16 rail companies during the week of the May Bank Holiday. The strikes are scheduled to take place between Tuesday, May 7, and Thursday, May 9, and there will also be an overtime ban from Monday, May 6 to Saturday, May 11.

This is expected to cause cancellations and delays, and in some areas, there will be no services. Passengers are strongly advised to check before they travel, as different companies will be affected on different days. For alternative travel options, check out TechRound’s recent article.

BBC reports that If your train is cancelled, delayed, or rescheduled due to the strikes, you may be eligible for a refund. Advance ticket holders can claim a refund, and season ticket holders who cannot travel can claim 100% compensation for strike dates.


How Does The Upcoming Strike Impact Businesses?


For businesses, especially startups, the upcoming strike can lead to challenges such as operational disruptions, delayed deliveries, and difficulties for employees commuting to work. Due to their smaller size and limited resources, startups may find it difficult to adapt quickly, which could impact their ability to meet deadlines and fulfil customer orders.

Furthermore, businesses that rely on timely transportation of goods or services may suffer financial losses or damage to their reputation if they fail to deliver on their commitments. To ease the impact of these strikes, businesses can explore alternative transportation options, adjust work schedules, and communicate transparently with customers about potential delays.


Understanding Employee Rights During Strikes


When employees participate in strikes, they have specific rights that are outlined by GOV.UK. If the event was organised properly, individuals have the right to take industrial action without being forced to return to work. However, taking such action may breach the employment contract, which could lead to unpaid work and legal consequences. It is important to note that lawsuits are rare in such cases. While participating in industrial action doesn’t typically break the continuous employment period, the employer may adjust the length of service for purposes like pension calculations.

It is important to know that dismissal for industrial action is prohibited if the strike meets certain criteria, such as being properly organised and related to a trade issue. After 12 weeks of the strike, dismissal may occur if the employer attempted to resolve the issue. Even non-union members participating in legal industrial action have protections against dismissal.

GOV.UK provides detailed guidelines on legal rights during industrial action for further reference.


The Impact Striking Has On Startups


Strikes hit businesses hard, but startups feel the impact even more. With limited resources and flexibility, startups face heightened risks and uncertainties during strikes. Striking impacts startups in the following ways:

Operational Disruptions:

Operational disruptions caused by strikes can significantly impact the normal flow of operations for startups. These disruptions can lead to delays in production, shipping, and service delivery, resulting in missed deadlines, customer dissatisfaction, and loss of revenue.

Logistical Challenges:

Startups may also face logistical challenges due to strikes. These businesses often rely on efficient transportation networks to receive supplies and deliver products. Strikes in transportation sectors such as rail and postal services can disrupt supply chains, leading to inventory shortages and production bottlenecks.

Financial Impact:

The financial impact of strikes on startups can be significant, including loss of sales and additional costs incurred to mitigate the effects of strikes. Additionally, potential penalties for failing to meet contractual obligations can contribute to financial strain.



Customer Relations:

Strikes can also damage customer relationships by causing delays in product delivery or service provision, which can lead to customers becoming dissatisfied. Startups that cannot consistently meet customers’ needs and expectations can struggle to retain customers or attract new ones.

Employee Morale And Productivity:

Strikes can also affect employee morale and productivity. Uncertainty about the future, concerns about job security, and disruptions to work routines can demotivate employees and hinder their performance.

Competitive Disadvantage:

Startup businesses face stiff competition, and strikes can put them at a competitive disadvantage. Larger competitors with more resources may be better equipped to weather the effects of strikes, leaving startups struggling to keep up or even stay afloat.


The Strike Survival Guide For Startups


During strikes, startups need a solid backup plan to minimise the impact on their operations. Flexibility, adaptability, and proactive planning are key to dealing with strikes. Here are some strategies to consider:

Diversify Suppliers:

If you rely on only one supplier, it’s important to diversify your supply chain to reduce risk. Identify alternative suppliers who can provide similar products or services, ensuring continuity in case of disruptions caused by strikes.

Remote Work Policies:

Implement remote work policies to allow employees to work remotely during strikes. Use digital communication tools and project management software to maintain productivity and collaboration among team members.

Flexible Scheduling:

Accommodate employees who may be affected by transportation disruptions during strikes by offering flexible scheduling options. Allow for staggered work hours or remote work arrangements to ensure continuity in operations.

Alternative Transportation:

Consider partnering with courier services or local delivery companies to bypass transportation disruptions caused by strikes. Exploring alternative transportation options for delivering products or services to customers is always a good idea.

Communication With Customers:

Regularly update your customers regarding potential delays or disruptions in service due to strikes. Provide transparent communication and alternative solutions to mitigate any inconvenience caused.

Contingency Funds:

It’s important to have financial reserves to cover unexpected expenses or losses incurred during strikes. Building up a contingency fund can help startups weather the financial impact of disruptions and maintain stability during challenging times.

Strikes can be a major headache for businesses, but for startups, they can feel like a knockout punch. With limited resources and tight schedules, even minor disruptions can have major consequences. From operational hiccups to financial strain, startups face a unique set of challenges during strikes.

That’s why having a backup plan is crucial. By diversifying suppliers, implementing remote work policies, and exploring alternative transportation options, startups can navigate through strikes with minimal disruption. Clear communication with customers and building up contingency funds are also key strategies for weathering the storm. With these backup plans in place, startups can stand strong and continue serving their customers, even in the face of strikes.