Thursday, May 31, 2018

Unions cowed?

The number of strikes in the UK last year was the lowest recorded to date, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
There were 79 stoppages in 2017, the lowest figures since records began in 1891. Out of the total 79 stoppages last year, 39 were over pay.
The number of workers involved in labour disputes also fell to an all-time low of 33,000.
ONS senior statistician David Freeman said: "While the number of days lost wasn't quite a record low, it has significantly reduced since the early 1990s. In the private sector 232,000 working days were lost last year, the most since 1996. However, the number of working days lost in the public sector in 2017, at 44,000, was the lowest on record.
With average pay yet to recover to levels before the financial crisis a decade ago, workers are going through the worst period for wage growth since the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815 – well before the labour dispute records began. The use of zero-hours contracts and the rise of the gig economy has also fuelled fears over a decline in working conditions in recent years.
Since the Trade Union Act 2016 came into force in March 2017, ballots on strikes in the public sector have to clear two thresholds to go ahead - a 50% turnout and 40% of those eligible to vote need to vote for strike action.
TUC senior employment rights officer Hannah Reed said: "The government's draconian trade union act restricts workers' ability to defend their jobs, pay and working conditions. This is especially the case in the public sector where union members face more barriers to call a strike," she said.

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