Strike Vs Protest: What Is the Difference?

Strike Vs Protest

One common feature we can see in many countries in the world today is the declaration of various strikes and protests.

It has become a common feature for people to go on strike or declare their displeasure against any governing body or any sitting government of a country.

While it is essential for people to speak up especially when they are dissatisfied about the way they are being treated, or when their wages aren’t paid on time, there are processes and steps to be taken to ensure that one is being heard.

One of these steps includes Strikes and Protests. Often, people resort to this when the company’s governing body or the government in power isn’t listening and yielding to their demands.

However, it is imperative to note that there is a striking difference between embarking on a strike or going all out for a protest.

This article is enlighten you on the differences that there is between going on a strike and having to protest in an organization or a company.


In understanding what strikes mean and represent, it is essential first to understand the meaning of industrial disputes.

According to the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, Section 2(k), which states that industrial disputes mean any dispute or difference between employers and workers or between workers and workmen which is connected with the employment, non-employment, or a breach in terms of employment or with the conditions of labour of any person.

In other words, for a strike to occur, there has to be a breach of contract between an employer and her workmen or between workers of different ranks. Industrial disputes generally describe any conflicts that occur within a particular existing industry.

Hence, for an industrial dispute to occur, there must be a real dispute and the person as well as the parties that raised the dispute must have a director at least a substantial interest.

Strike action is a potent tool that is used by trade unions or other labour associations to make sure that their demands are met. Most times strikes generally involve the quitting of work by the industrial workers in order to mount pressure on their employers and ensure that their needs are accepted and met.

Whenever workers decide to cease or stop their jobs collectively as a result of the perceived insensitivity of their employers in a particular industry, a strike is said to have occurred.

Going by the definition offered by the Industrial disputes Acts, 1947, a strike is a cessation of work by a group or body of persons employed in the industry acting in combination.

A strike can also be referred to as the outright refusal of any group of persons who have been previously employed in a particular industry.

For a strike to occur, there has to be a unanimous decision by a group of workers to stop working in order to protest against what they think is unfair.

Causes of Strikes

There are many causes of strikes, they include;

  • Dissatisfaction with any company policy either it is a current or previously existing company policy.
  • Salary, wages and incentive issues.
  • Increments which aren’t up to the mark or are not adequately implemented.
  • Wrongful dismissal or discharge of employees and workmen.
  • Withdrawal of any previous privilege or concession.
  • Refusal to pay bonuses, profits, provident funds or gratuity of workers and employees.
  • Closure of any part of the company or retrenchment of workmen be it partial or general.
  • Any dispute whatsoever that is connected with minimum wages.

Types of Strike

It is also imperative to understand that there are different types of strikes. They include:

1. Economic Strike

In this type of strike, workers and employers generally stop their work in order to enforce the issuance of their economic demands such as the payment of their wages, salaries as well as bonuses.

In these kinds of strikes, workers mostly ask for the payment or the increment of their allowances and salaries.

2. Sympathetic Strike

A sympathetic strike is said to occur when a group of workers in one unit decide to embark on a strike in sympathy with other workers of another team who are already on strike.

Most times, this is often done so that members of other unions join the strike in other to show support and solidarity with other associations.

3. General Strike

This strike is said to occur when members of all unions or majority of the unions in a region, a particular industry or company decide to embark on a strike in order to force the enforcement of the common demands of all workers on their employees.

In most cases, general strikes are used to create political pressure on a ruling government rather than on an employer of labour.

In some cases, a generalized strike often results as an extension of sympathetic strikes.

4. Sit-down Strikes

In this type of strike, workers don’t exempt themselves from their place of work.

Instead, they go to their offices and sit down, doing nothing, thereby halting production activities for the company or industry.

Other names for this type of strike include pen down or tool down strike. In this case, workers are mandated to show up to their workplace but not work and not vacate the premises until closing hours.

This action makes it very difficult for employers to bring in temporary workers, defy the union, or take workers’ jobs.

5. Slow Down Strike

This type of strike is similar to the sit-down strike; however, there is a little difference.

While in the sit-down strike, workers are mandated to resume their places of work but not engage in production activities, for the slow down strike, workers are also required to show up to their workplace and work but reduce the production rate in an organized manner.


Protests on the other hand(which may also be referred to as demonstrations, remonstrance or Remostation) is a public expression of disapproval, dissent, and objection towards a particular action or idea especially a political one.

Protests can take on any fro, ranging from mass demonstrations to individual statements. Often, protesters are seen to organize a protest as a way of making sure that their opinions are heard and assessed publicly.

Sometimes, they may undertake a direct action, as such attempting to enact their desired changes themselves.

Although protests are supposed to be part of the system and a demonstration of a peaceful campaign in order to achieve a particular goal, however, sometimes things can quickly go south if care is not taken.

In conclusion, while strikes often include protests, some protests may not necessarily include Strikes.

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