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Sharp drop in UK strike rates

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An international comparison of labour disputes reveals that the UK experienced a sharp drop in number of working days lost due to strikes.

The figures, published in the Economic & Labour Market Review by the Office for National Statistics, are for 2005 and reveal that the UK lost six working days per 1,000 employees to strikes – the 2004 rate was 34 days per 1,000 employees.

Of the 19 EU countries which supplied figures, Britain sits in eighth place, below Finland, Spair, Italy, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal and the Netherlands.

But many countries, including some of those who joined the EU in 2004, had an average strike rate of zero.

Of the 27 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries that supplied figures in 2005, the UK had the 12th highest rate, with Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey and the USA all having higher strike rates than the UK.

In the period 1996-2005, the UK’s average strike rate of 23 days a year lost per 1,000 employees was below both the EU average of 50 days and the OECD average of 42 days.

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