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Days lost to strikes in West Midlands on the rise

Number of working days lost to labour disputes climbed by 31,900 last year - a rise of almost a third

Public sector workers strike in Birmingham

The number of working days lost to strike action in the West Midlands rose by nearly a third last year.

Throughout 2014, 31,900 days were lost to labour disputes in the region at a rate of 13 working days out of every 1,000 employees.

This is nearly a third more than the ten working days per 1,000 employees that were lost in 2013 - an increase of 30 per cent.

Nearly half of the lost days came in the education sector where 15,800 days had to be written off due to strikes and other disputes.

The next most likely source of lost days was in the public administration and defence sector where 13,100 days were lost while 1,800 days were lost in the health and social work sector.

Strikes have been forefront in the political debate over the past few months with the Government proposing changes to the Trade Union Bill that would make it harder for industrial action to take place.

Across the whole of the UK, 788,000 days were lost due to labour disputes in 2014 compared with 444,000 in 2013.

The 2014 figure is more than the average in both the 2000s and the 1990s but less than the 1980s when strike action was more common.

The increase in working days lost in 2014 was mainly attributable to a number of large-scale public sector strikes.

The public administration and defence and education industries once again saw the largest number of working days lost while the majority of individual strikes occurred in the education industry.

Pay was once again the principal cause of labour disputes.

This has been the main cause of labour disputes for the last ten years, with the exception of 2009 and 2010, when the main cause was redundancy.

The private sector has had more strikes than the public sector in the last three years, a change to recent history.

However, the public sector has had significantly more working days lost than the private sector in each of these years, a reflection of the large scale strikes that occur in this sector.

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