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Industrial Disputes, Australia

The number of disputes (strikes or lockouts), employees involved and working days lost; cause of dispute; duration; and the reason work resumed

Reference period
June 2021
Released
2/09/2021
  • Next Release 2/12/2021
    Industrial Disputes, Australia, September 2021
  • Next Release 10/03/2022
    Industrial Disputes, Australia, December 2021
  • Next Release 2/06/2022
    Industrial Disputes, Australia, March 2022
  • View all releases

Key statistics

In the June quarter 2021

  • 36 disputes occurred.
  • 6,400 employees were involved and 10,400 working days lost.
  • disputes occurred in 7 industries and in 6 states and territories.

During the year ended June 2021, there were 100 disputes and a total of 57,700 working days lost.

 QuarterYear ended
March 2021June 2021June 2020June 2021
Number of disputes    
 Commenced in period (no.)22309498
 Total (no.)2436102100
Employees involved    
 Newly involved ('000)2.36.028.814.7
 Total ('000)2.76.429.614.8
Working days lost ('000)19.210.435.657.7

Overview

In the June quarter 2021, there were:

  • 36 disputes, 12 more than from the previous quarter.
  • 6,400 employees involved, an increase from 2,700 in the previous quarter.
  • 10,400 working days lost, a decrease from 19,200 in the previous quarter.

Year ended estimates:

  • 100 disputes occurred, 2 less than in the previous year.
  • 57,700 working days were lost, 62% more than the previous year.
1 Industrial disputes which occurred during the quarter
 Number of disputesEmployees involved 
 Commenced in periodTotalNewly involvedTotalWorking days lost
 no.no.'000'000'000
June Quarter 2019344418.820.217.6
September Quarter 2019354316.817.517.8
December Quarter 201934388.38.812.4
March Quarter 202017232.94.03.9
June Quarter 20208110.91.11.5
September Quarter 202019214.24.311.7
December Quarter 202027322.22.616.5
March Quarter 202122242.32.719.2
June Quarter 202130366.06.410.4

Long-term trends

The level of industrial disputation over recent years is considerably lower than in the 1980's and prior decades.

Industry

In the June quarter, disputes occurred in seven industries. More than three in ten (31%) working days lost were in Other industries.

2 Industrial disputes which occurred during the quarter, industry
 March Quarter 2021June Quarter 2021
Working days lostWorking days lost per thousand employeesWorking days lostWorking days lost per thousand employees
'000no.'000no.
Mining    
 Coal mining1.734.60.715.2
 Other mining-0.1--
Manufacturing    
 Metal product etc (a)--1.03.1
 Other manufacturing1.83.51.93.4
Construction1.31.42.83.0
Transport, postal and warehousing13.121.80.71.3
Education and training; Health care and social assistance--0.20.1
Other industries (a)1.20.23.20.5
All industries19.21.610.40.9

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
a. See Glossary - Industry - for details of industries included.

States and territories

Disputes occurred in six states and territories in the June quarter, with more than three in ten (39%) working days lost occurring in Western Australia.

3 Industrial disputes which occurred during the quarter, states and territories
 March Quarter 2021June Quarter 2021
Working days lostWorking days lost per thousand employeesWorking days lostWorking days lost per thousand employees
'000no.'000no.
NSW15.84.32.50.7
Vic.1.90.61.20.4
Qld0.60.21.70.7
SAnpnp1.01.3
WA0.80.64.03.1
Tas.----
NTnpnp--
ACT----
Australia19.21.610.40.9

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated

Cause of dispute

Most industrial disputes are Enterprise Bargaining (EB) related. Over the past 10 years, disputes over employment conditions have generally been the most prevalent. 

EB related issues were the cause of 50% of disputes (9 of 18) which ended in the March quarter 2021.

4 Cause of disputes which ended during the quarter
 December Quarter 2020March Quarter 2021
Total Number of DisputesTotal Employees InvolvedWorking days LostTotal Number of DisputesTotal Employees InvolvedWorking days Lost
no.'000'000no.'000'000
Enterprise Bargaining (EB) related     
 Remuneration80.31.42npnp
 Employment conditions (EB)122.87.370.724.9
 Other EB related------
Non-EB related      
 Remuneration1--1npnp
 Employment conditions------
 Health and safety50.40.441.11.4
 Job security10.3-1npnp
 Managerial policy1npnp20.20.1
 Union issues1npnp1npnp
 Other Non EB related1npnp---
Total304.39.7182.326.8

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated

Working days lost

Working days lost is a measure of the length of a dispute, relative to the number of employees involved.

Of the 18 disputes which ended in the March quarter, 13 lasted for 2 days or less. 

5 Working days lost for disputes which ended during the quarter
 December Quarter 2020March Quarter 2021
Total Number of DisputesTotal Employees InvolvedWorking days LostTotal Number of DisputesTotal Employees InvolvedWorking days Lost
no.'000'000no.'000'000
Up to and including 1 day121.30.87npnp
Over 1 day and up to including 2 days61.01.360.81.4
Over 2 and less than 5 days61.74.22npnp
5 and less than 10 days30.32.420.10.8
10 days and over30.11.010.423.8
Total304.39.7182.326.8

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated

Reason work resumed

The reason work resumed relates to the last day of action taken. Resumption of work can occur without resolution to the issues that triggered the dispute. 

Negotiation without intervention of a third party and Pre-determined return to work each accounted for 33% of disputes (6 of 18) which ended in the March quarter 2021. 

6 Reason work resumed for disputes which ended during the quarter
 December Quarter 2020March Quarter 2021
Total Number of DisputesTotal Employees InvolvedWorking days LostTotal Number of DisputesTotal Employees InvolvedWorking days Lost
no.'000'000no.'000'000
Negotiation without intervention of a third party50.42.36124.4
State legislation1npnp---
Federal legislation10.60.840.40.3
Pre-determined return to work172.55.960.31.1
Resumption without negotiation6npnp1--
Mediation---10.51.1
Other reasons------
Total304.39.7182.326.8

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated

Data downloads

Time Series Spreadsheets

Data files

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6321.0.55.001.