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Building and construction is a sector that has high levels of industrial disputation. Given the nature of the house building industry, where individual builders directly subcontract labour as required, disputation tends to be more a feature of non-residential building projects than of residential building projects.
The level of industrial disputes in the construction industry has moderated in recent years (graph 20.29). The 'spikes' of 1996 and 1998 experienced by the construction industry in terms of working days lost can largely be attributed to specific industrial disputes.
The effect of specific industrial disputes is identified through a snapshot of the months of 2001 (graph 20.30). The 'spikes' in the graph can be explained by increased industrial action in New South Wales and Victoria. This also reflects that these two states had the largest number of working days lost per 1,000 employees (see table 20.31).
In 2001 the construction industry recorded an average of 275 working days lost per thousand employees, five and a half times the average across all industries combined, as shown in table 20.31. Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia were the most affected, with 427, 278 and 225 working days lost per thousand construction industry employees, respectively. Tasmania and Northern Territory reported little or no strike activity in the construction industry in 2001.