Of course you can the take help of Labour Department & Police as well in this case.
Approach personally individual faithful employees and ask them reason and are they interested to do the same. tell them consequences for this illegal strike not only for them and their family shall effect also.
If you want to create a change, be prepared to face some production loss. Discuss with your Management. If they agree, next time, when they resort to such illegal strike, first put up a notice, warning them to resort to work within half hours. If they don't resume for work, as a firm decision declare a ' 'Suspension of Operation' and shut the Factory and make the workers to get out out of the premises. You may take the help of Local Police if required. Inform in detail to labour department and initiate a conciliation. Have an agreement before, the Conciliation Officer, assuring that they would not resort to illegal strike, and create grievance redress procedure. You may also add a clause, that if any resort to such illegal strike, appropriate disciplinary action would be initiated against individual employees. On the assurance you may reopen the unit. This is a tough stand.
Find out reason for strike and any justification for this disruptive behaviour.
How big is your unit?
Is there any violence in their actions while dispersing management.
In case of violent actions,surely seek police coverage while addressing the issues raised by workers.
Labour department is meant to help in such cases.
You will need to document events,identify trouble makers and initiate actions against them if your attempts to settle issues do not work out.
We need to know whether the organized frequent stoppage of work for any policy change is at the instance of the Union's directive or spontaneous action of workers.
Legality or otherwise of such actions is finally for the court to decide. But your non-reactive action to such unjustified acts has got workers to get into the habit of it.
You should precipitate by deducting wages for each time they resort to and suspend operations prior to lock out after due notices.
They have to be brought to the discussion table in the presence of third party ie Conciliation machinery under the ID Act.for resolving this amicably.
Workers' action , though unjustified and may be got declared illegal, I think may be stemming from repeated wrong doing by the management or unilateral imposition rules/policies without discussing with them across the table.
The preventive solution to this problem lies in developing culture of bilateral discussions on common issues and trying to resolve them. Otherwise you will always end up in firefighting situations like one you are facing, leading to chain of actions and reactions inflicting avoidable damages to both sides.
Without justifying the strike or entering into its legality, I wish to presume that your company has sufficient strength of workmen & a Trade Union with a committee to represent workmen before the management and the ID Act applies.
The Section 9A of the Act lays down process for effecting change/s in the service condition, now my question here is, are you following the process?
Since there is a union, both sides must be having periodical meetings depending upon the requirement/s.
Further, your query is making it obvious that there is lack of trust & confidence so there relations are quite strained. Mostly this happens due to lack of understanding & proper communications or communication gap between the parties. This has resulted in causality of discipline.
Please do the root cause analysis & remove the anomalies to improve industrial relations.
I think neither you can put blame solely on the workmen alone, your HR department should also share equal blame for this situation.
Further you can not rush to court & government authorities to bail you out all the time.
Your prime job is to identify the cause that remain responsible for all strikes. You should get sure that there is no fault remain from the employer.
You also call the workers representatives/union for a discussion over the issue and appraise the management view and keep the minitues of the meeting. Tell them to inform the workers they should not resort to strike but come for the discussion, if any issues exist.
You need to meet the licensing authority to discuss over the matter and appraise the concern of the managment. That, the management would not hesitate to call the establishment for a lockout if things are not set right.
While the recourse to law is available, one needs to identify the basic cause of this indiscipline.
As an HR professional, try to sift information acquired by you whether there is a basic problem with the policies to be implemented or is it a culture of distrust against the management,. The trigger to such behaviour needs to be identified and taken care of.
Do not try to implement all policies unilaterally. Create a momentum by involving the employees. Identify mischief makers Also identify with whether the Management team / Functional Heads are one and create trust with them. Sometimes it a herd mentality which drives people to do this. Form smaller groups of employees with the mischief makers as leaders to implement parts of the policy under HR supervision. Make them your champions. Give them a little recognition by rewarding good behaviour. Set examples. Be transperant in implementation. If there is a flaw in the policies, talk to the Management too. You are a Peoples Champion which includes both Management and employees. All this will create a positive culture in the long run.