Nearly 4 million working days lost to strikes as walkouts continue

The data comes as NHS junior doctors are set to strike for 72 hours in mid-June, while teachers will strike for two days in July

Martha McHardy
Monday 19 June 2023 00:02 BST
<p>Teacher hold a placard as they shout slogans while taking part in a protest organised NEU and other affiliated trade unions </p>

Teacher hold a placard as they shout slogans while taking part in a protest organised NEU and other affiliated trade unions

Almost 4 million working days have been lost to strike action in the UK in 11 months, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.

Some 3.7 million days were lost through labour disputes from June 2022 to April 2023. This is the highest for any period since between July 1989 to May 1990, when 4.8 million were lost.

December 2022 saw the most working days lost, with 829,000 – the highest total for a single month since November 2011, when the figures were at 997,000.

The data comes as NHS junior doctors walked out for 72 hours from last Wednesday to Saturday morning as part of the ongoing pursuit of improved pay and working conditions. And teachers in England announced on Saturday that they would take more action in July.

Disputes affecting London and northwest England together accounted for nearly a third (30 per cent) of all losses in the 11 months, according to analysis by the PA news agency.

There were 576,500 days lost in London (16 per cent of the total) and 526,100 (14 per cent) in the North West.

Southeast England saw the next highest number, at 466,200 days (13 per cent), followed by Scotland (459,500 or 12 per cent).

Wales recorded the fewest days lost, 125,500, accounting for just 3 per cent of the UK total.

Striking junior doctors march through Manchester in row with government over pay

Teachers In England represented by the National Education Union (NEU) are the latest union to announce they will be walking out on 5 and 7 July, after striking in May in a long-running dispute over pay.

Major strikes by train operators have also caused complications for the public in recent weeks, making life difficult in half term and for those attending specific events such as the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool, the FA Cup Final in London and the Epsom Derby as their own long-running pay disputes rumble on.

The most recent action by the RMT and Aslef, on 31 May and 2-3 June, came after months of negotiations with the government failed to yield a solution and is unlikely to prove the end of the matter.

Of the 3.7 million working days lost from June 2022 to April 2023, more than half (57 per cent, or 2.1 million) were in transport, storage and communication industries – a reflection of the frequency of rail strikes, but also of recurring disputes involving Border Force staff and driving instructors.

Strike action by security officers at Heathrow Airport planned for Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 of June was recently called off following an improved pay offer. If the latest pay offer is rejected by members, 29 days of strike action will go ahead.

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