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Number of working days lost in strikes up 75%

A series of strikes by public sector unions has led to a big rise in the annual number of working days lost through industrial action.

A total of 788,000 working days were lost in 2014, up 75% on the previous year, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The figure is higher than the average for both the 2000s and 1990s, and is the third highest figure for the past 10 years.

It is still far below the average for the 1980s, however, and a long way behind the post-war record of 29.5 million days in 1979.

The Government this week unveiled plans to tighten the rules on strike ballots, including a requirement for a turnout of at least 50% of union members to authorise action.

In key public services - such as health, education, fire, transport, border security and energy - a strike must also be endorsed by 40% of those entitled to vote.

The majority of strikes in 2014 took place in the education industry. Over half of all stoppages were due to action over pay, which also accounted for nine out of every 10 working days lost through disputes. The biggest contributors to this were workers in public administration, defence and education.

The private sector saw a greater number of strikes than the public sector, but more working days were lost in the public sector due to the size of the disputes. The region that saw the most number of working days lost was north-east England.

Despite last year's rise, the number of working days lost through strikes in the UK has been in slow decline since the mid-1980s.

The three highest totals since records began are for 1926 (162 million), 1921 (86 million) and 1912 (40 million).


From Belfast Telegraph