11,000 days lost to staff STRIK­ING

Solihull News - - IT TALK - ALICE CACHIA News Re­porter

THE West Mid­lands lost nearly 11,000 work­ing days to strike ac­tion last year.

New fig­ures re­leased by the Of­fice for Na­tional Statis­tics show there were 1,900 peo­ple in our re­gion who took strike ac­tion in 2017, mean­ing an average of six work­ing days were lost for each worker.

There were 10,700 work- ing days lost in the year, and the transport, stor­age and com­mu­ni­ca­tions sec­tor in the West Mid­lands saw 6,500 days lost be­cause of strike ac­tion – the most of any sec­tor in the re­gion.

Mean­while, the man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try saw 1,600 days un­worked in the year, fol­lowed by 100 days lost to those in pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion.

A fur­ther 2,500 days were lost to strikes by those work­ing in other, un­spec­i­fied ser­vices. The rate of work­ing days lost per em­ployee was lower in the West Mid­lands than the UK average.

Over­all 33,000 peo­ple took strike ac­tion across the UK last year – down from 154,000 in 2016, and the low­est fig­ure on record.

Han­nah Reed, se­nior em­ploy­ment rights of­fi­cer at Trades Union Congress, said: “The gov­ern­ment’s dra­co­nian trade union act re­stricts work­ers’ abil­ity to de­fend their jobs, pay and work­ing con­di­tions.

“This is es­pe­cially the case in the pub­lic sec­tor, where union mem­bers face more bar­ri­ers to call a strike.

“Mak­ing it harder for peo­ple to go on strike is not good for in­dus­trial re­la­tions. Un­re­solved dis­putes in­crease work­force ten­sions, as well as dam­ag­ing morale and pro­duc­tiv­ity. Strikes are al­ways a last re­sort for union mem­bers. But it’s clear that many work­ers are fed up of years of pal­try pay rises. As high- pro­file ac­tion at com­pa­nies like Mc­Don­ald’s have shown, unions will al­ways stand up to bad em­ploy­ers.”

A spokesper­son from the Depart­ment for Busi­ness, En­ergy and In­dus­trial Strat­egy said: “The fig­ures high­light the ef­fec­tive­ness of the Gov­ern­ment’s work to clamp down on un­demo­cratic strike ac­tion.

“Our ac­tion has pre- vented thou­sands of peo­ple from hav­ing their lives un­fairly dis­rupted with an ex­pected sav­ing to the econ­omy of around £ 10 mil­lion a year.”

Strikes ac­counted for 276,000 work­ing days lost this year, or an average of eight days per em­ployee.

Wage dis­putes were re­spon­si­ble for the vast ma­jor­ity of strikes, ac­count­ing for 205,000 work­ing days lost across the UK.

These in­cluded the first ever strike by Mc­Don­ald’s em­ploy­ees, who were de­mand­ing bet­ter pay and work­ing con­di­tions.

Mean­while, man­ning and work­ing al­lo­ca­tions saw 35,000 days go un­worked, fol­lowed by 23,000 days be­cause of re­dun­dan­cies.

Some 12,000 days went un­worked be­cause peo­ple were strik­ing over work­ing con­di­tions, and 2,000 days were lost be­cause of trade union mat­ters.

A fur­ther 100 days each went un­worked when peo­ple were strik­ing about dis­ci­plinary mea­sures, as well as the du­ra­tion of hours worked.

Strikes are al­ways a last re­sort for union mem­bers. But it’s clear that many work­ers are fed up of years of pal­try pay rises. HAN­NAH REED

Work­ers from GKN on Ch­ester Road on strike ear­lier this year

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