Latest data on labour disputes in 2012 suggests that the resurgence in activity seen in 2011 is continuing this year. ONS says:
These estimates measure disputes (ie, strikes) connected with terms and conditions of employment. In July 2012, there were 9,000 working days lost from 17 stoppages. In the twelve months to July 2012, there were 1.24 million working days lost from 129 stoppages.Just two months earlier, ONS' Labour Market Statistics report for July 2012 reported that:
In the twelve months to May 2012 there were 1.48 million working days lost due to labour disputes, the highest figure since the twelve months to January 1991. Most of the working days lost in the twelve months to May 2012 were due to strikes in connection with a dispute over proposed changes to pensions for some public sector workers.Despite this upward trend over recent years, levels of labour disputes remain low by historical standards.
In a guest blog post for HSJ.co.uk - entitled Unions Are Part Of The Solution, NHS Employers Director Dean Royles puts data on the upsurge in labour disputes seen during 2011 in historical context:
In 2011, still in the midst of a recessionary period, and following a series of pay freezes and redundancies with rising unemployment, the economy lost 1.4 million working days due to industrial action. In 1974 it was more than 14 million days spread across the economy with a major impact on all key sectors. More than 10 times greater.
I'm very interested to find out the views of XpertHR readers on the issues around the state of the UK trade unions raised here.
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State of the unions: Read all the posts in the XpertHR series
- State of the unions (1): What's on the union agenda for 2012 and beyond?
As autumn 2012 gets underway, the UK's trade unions are expected to confront the Coalition Government on multiple fronts in 2012 and beyond, including pay and pensions. It is also possible that the unions will set their sights on the Coalition Government's programme of radical employment law reform. A schedule of trade union activism is taking shape for the coming year.
- State of the unions (2): Union membership is in long-term decline
The public appetite for trade union membership could be in decline, latest data suggest.
- State of the unions (3): Labour disputes show strong resurgence as austerity bites
While trade union membership would appear to be in decline, there has been something of a resurgence in labour disputes, in direct response to public spending cuts. Last year saw the highest number of working days lost to labour disputes in more than two decades. This trend was driven by a renewed militancy in the public sector.
- State of the unions (4): Upsurge in labour disputes continues in 2012
Latest data on labour disputes in 2012 suggests that the resurgence in activity seen in 2011 is continuing this year. But despite this upward trend over recent years, levels of labour disputes remain low by historical standards.
- State of the unions (5): Appetite for co-operation?
Is the unions' appetite for industrial action being replaced by an appetite for co-operation?
- Union activity on the rise as TUC plans mass demonstration in London for Saturday 20 October 2012 XpertHR reports.
- XpertHR economic commentary October 2012: A lack of oomph XpertHR's October 2012 economic commentary looks at the Coalition Government's latest actions to boost growth and considers trends in trade union activity.
- Is the Coalition Government waging a 'war on how we work'? and Beecroft report was inspired by 'hopeless' HR director, says Telegraph XpertHR reports.
- Will trade unions struggle for relevance in the Facebook era?
- Banning strike action in 'essential services': The CIPD's 'nuclear option' for implementing public spending cuts