Industrial action sees massive UK rise in days lost since 2019

Bu Kas Ellis

DAYS lost due to industrial action have increased dramatically since 2019.

The Office for National Statistics released information regarding the amount of days lost in select months in 2022 after previously suspending data collection due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A member of the University and College Union spoke about the rise.

Alistair Jones, a politics professor at De Montfort University has been a part of the union for 32 years.

“The main cause for strikes is pay, especially with inflation, but also terms and conditions,” Prof Jones said. “I’ve been a part of half a dozen strikes during my time at De Montfort, and almost all have been in relation to pay.”

Casualisation of work, short term contracts, and workloads were also factors at play for the rise in labour disputes.

Recent figures provided by the Office for National Statistics showed a significant increase of working days lost from the average number of 19,500 days lost in 2019.

In June 2022, there were 70,500 working days lost, and in July 2022, there were 87,600 working days lost.

The figures for August, September, and October 2022 saw an increase too, with 356,000 days, 209,000 days, and 417,00 days lost respectively.

The June and July report also showed that the regions with the highest amount of working days lost were Yorkshire and The Humber, and the North West.

The industry with the most working days lost was transport and storage.

When asked about any particular factors that made the rise from 2019 so significant, Prof Jones said: “It’s not just from COVID-19, we were on strike in the weeks leading up to the shut-down. This is something that has been building up.

“It’s mainly from the cost of living crisis that we’re in.”

According to an October and November 2022 report, the Office for National Statistics found that 91 per cent of adults in the UK reported an increase in their cost of living compared to last year.

Seventy four per cent of adults reported an increase in their cost of living compared to one month ago.

The average pay rise over the last decade has been only 2.5 per cent in the public sector.

Prof Jones explained that in the 30 years that he’s worked at the university, his pay rise has doubled as opposed to the cost of living, which has tripled.

“Across the public sector, we’ve been hammered. We’ve simply decided that enough is enough.”

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