The number of working days lost to strikes topped one million last year, official figures have shown.
Data from the Office for National Statistics revealed 1.041m working days were disrupted by stoppages last year – an increase of 250,000 over 2006.
Some 96% of those lost were in the public sector. There were 90 separate stoppages including high-profile strikes involving prison officers, tube and train workers and postal workers.
Unions are warning that the total is likely to increase again this year as workers show their anger at low pay and high food and petrol prices.
Yesterday hundreds of public sector workers joined a TUC rally in Westminster to press the government for bigger pay rises.
David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Industrial disputes have a direct impact on a business’s day-to-day running and the government needs to work much harder to improve its current handling of industrial relations.”