With high profile strikes being seen in recent times in the education sector, aviation industry as well as the construction sector, HRwisdom has taken a quick peek at what’s actually happening from a numbers perspective.

This investigation also led us to a golden oldy…

How Strikes Are Measured In Australia

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) produces regular updates on industrial action and strikes in Australia.

ABS Strike Activity Statistics

Here’s how the ABS measures industrial disputes in Australia . . .

The Industrial Disputes (ID) collection produces quarterly statistics on the number of industrial disputes, employees involved in industrial disputes, working days lost and working days lost per thousand employees where at least ten working days are lost as a result of the dispute.

The following types of industrial disputes are within the scope of the ID collection:

  • unauthorised stopwork meetings;
  • general strikes;
  • sympathetic strikes (e.g. strikes in support of a group of workers already on strike);
  • political or protest strikes;
  • rotating or revolving strikes (i.e. strikes which occur when workers at different locations take turns to stop work);
  • unofficial strikes;
  • work stoppages initiated by employers (e.g. lockouts).

Excluded from the scope of the collection are work-to-rules, go-slows and bans (eg. overtime bans).

Also excluded are effects of disputes on locations other than where the stoppages occurred, such as stand downs because of lack of materials, disruption of transport services and power cuts.

Knowing the categories and definitions is useful to understanding what’s going on for employers.

Highest Number of Working Days Lost To Industrial Action Since 2004

Now let’s turn our attention to what’s actually happening in the bigger picture.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald which reviewed the recent ABS data release:

“The highest number of working days lost to industrial action since June 2004 was recorded in the June 2012 quarter.

A total of 101,700 working days were lost in April, May and June – almost three times more than in the March quarter.

They involved 70,000 employees in 53 disputes.

In the 12 months to June, the number of disputes dropped by one from the previous year, but almost double the number of working days were lost.”

A Golden Oldy From The Union Movement

Finally, as mentioned above, this investigation into Australian strike activity led us to a golden oldy from an old union campaign.

Enjoy . . .

Warning: A rude word makes an appearance during the video.

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