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Number of UK workers on strike record low in 2015

Staff Writer |
The number of British workers taking strike action reached a record low in 2015, according to official figures.

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A total of 81,000 workers took part in industrial disputes, the lowest since figures were first collected in 1893, The Office of National Statistics (ONS) said.

The figure also marked a significant drop in comparison to 2014, when the figure was at 733,300.

The number of working days lost through strike action fell significantly, to 170,000 from 788,000 in 2014. It was the second lowest figure on record since the 157,000 registered in 2005.

ONS labour market statistician Nick Palmer attributed the higher figure in 2014 to the "large scale public sector strikes that were not repeated in 2015".

Disputes over pay were responsible for 71% of total days lost, following the trend of the last decade with the exception of 2009 and 2010 when redundancy was the main cause.

Transport and storage including railways saw the largest number of working days lost at 60,200. This sector however only accounted for 18% of all strikes, an indication that the number of workers taking part was greater than in other sectors. Public administration and defence followed with 25,400 days.

The majority of individual strikes took place in the education sector with 21,500 days lost.

Most of disputes did not last longer than three days with 30% less than a day in length. In 2014, 54% of disputes lasted for longer than a day.

The regions with the highest strike rates were Northern Ireland and London. The public and private sector saw the same amount of disputes yet the public sector lost more working days at 90,000 compared to 79,000. That figure was a significant decrease from the previous year at 716,000 days lost in the public sector.

According to the data, strike action had significantly reduced over the last 30 years which stood in stark contrast to the level of action seen when miners went on strike during the 1970s and 1980s.

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