11,000 days lost to staff STRIKING
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