Strike numbers hit record low in 2003

The
number of industrial disputes that lead to strikes in the UK fell to a record
low of 133 last year.

Just
under half a million working days were lost in 2003, compared with 1.3 million
in 2002.

The
figures, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), showed some
150,000 workers were involved in strike action in 2003. The strikes were mainly
in the public administration, education, transport and communications sectors.

The
ONS estimated some 372,000 working days had already been lost to strike action
in the first three months of 2004, with 135,000 workers involved in 40
stoppages.

The
most working days lost through disputes in 2003 were in Northern Ireland,
London and Scotland.

The
figures showed the number of working days lost through disputes has decreased
over the decades, with an average of 660,000 per year in the 1990s, 7.2 million
in the 1980s, and 12.9 million in the 1970s.

Brendan
Barber, general secretary of the TUC, said: "The second a strike ballot is
called there are voices rushing to predict a summer or a winter of discontent.
These figures confirm that the opposite is in fact true."

By Mike Berry

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