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The act of an employer not permitting its employees to work. That is, an employer may close down its place of business (such as a factory) so that employees cannot work and thereby earn a living. Lock-outs are useful in situations such as when a union only represents a portion of a company's workforce. If the employer believes the union is making unreasonable demands, it can declare a lock-out to encourage non-union workers to put pressure on the union workers to give up on those demands. Because this has the effect of punishing all workers, lock-outs are usually illegal.
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lockoutan action taken by an employer that involves the exclusion of the workforce from their place of work as part of an INDUSTRIAL DISPUTE. See INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, STRIKE.
Collins Dictionary of Economics, 4th ed. © C. Pass, B. Lowes, L. Davies 2005