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1360.0 - Measuring Australia's Economy, 2003  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/02/2003   
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The number of working days lost due to industrial disputes was 329,300 in the 12 months to June 2002. This was the lowest number for a financial year for many decades and continues the historically low levels recorded over the last 10 years.

While the number of working days lost, and number of employees involved, have been declining over the past six years, the number of disputes has actually been increasing. This indicates that the relative size of disputes, in terms of the length of the dispute or the numbers involved, is decreasing significantly. For example, in 1996-97, on average there were 1293 working days lost and 1032 employees involved per dispute, while in 2001-02 the corresponding figures were 482 working days lost and 260 employees involved per dispute.



INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES
Period
Disputes


no.
Employees
involved

’000
Working
days lost

’000
Working days lost
per ’000 employees

no.

ANNUAL
1996–97
495
510.8
640.1
90
1997–98
428
354.6
591.8
82
1998–99
659
277.2
412.0
56
1999–2000
769
578.3
794.1
104
2000–01
697
231.9
349.5
45
2001–02
683
177.8
329.3
41

MONTHLY
2001–02
July
86
22.2
47.6
n.a.
August
75
22.9
41.0
n.a.
September
78
18.5
22.5
n.a.
October
73
23.3
34.5
n.a.
November
78
20.0
37.2
n.a.
December
43
10.0
10.5
n.a.
January
40
6.6
5.1
n.a.
February
72
18.3
22.7
n.a.
March
102
34.2
44.9
n.a.
April
79
14.9
16.3
n.a.
May
91
20.1
29.5
n.a.
June
76
11.6
17.5
n.a.

Source: Industrial Disputes, Australia (6321.0).



Explanatory Notes

An industrial dispute is defined as a withdrawal from work by a group of employees, or a refusal by an employer or a number of employers to permit some or all of their employees to work, each withdrawal or refusal being made in order to enforce a demand, to resist a demand, or to express a grievance.

Industrial disputes statistics relate to disputes which involved stoppages of work of ten working days or more at the locations where the stoppages occurred. Ten working days is equivalent to the amount of ordinary time worked by ten people in one day, regardless of the length of the stoppage. For example, 3,000 workers on strike for 2 hours would be counted as 750 working days lost (assuming they work an 8 hour day).

Statistics on industrial disputes are used by government departments, industrial relations authorities, employer organisations, and trade unions, as broad indicators of the level of industrial disputation and the development of industrial relations policy.

Further Reading

Industrial Disputes, Australia (6321.0)
Provides estimates of number of disputes, employees involved, working days lost, and working days lost per thousand employees in disputes involving stoppages of work of ten working days or more, classified by State and Territory and Industry, duration of dispute, cause of dispute and method of settlement.

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