Industrial Disputes, Australia

Latest release

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 2022
Released
8/09/2022
  • Next Release 8/12/2022
    Industrial Disputes, Australia, September 2022
  • Next Release 9/03/2023
    Industrial Disputes, Australia, December 2022
  • View all releases

Key statistics

In the June quarter 2022:

  • 52 disputes occurred.
  • 73,700 employees were involved and 128,100 working days lost.
  • disputes occurred in 8 industries and in 7 states and territories.

During the year ended June 2022, there were 154 disputes and a total of 234,600 working days lost.

 QuarterYear ended
March Quarter 2022June Quarter 2022June Quarter 2021June Quarter 2022
Number of disputes (no.)
 New224598143
 Total 3052100154
Employees involved ('000)
 New10.171.214.7143.7
 Total11.473.714.8145.3
Working days lost ('000)19.6128.157.7234.6

Overview

In the June quarter 2022, there were:

  • 52 disputes, 22 more than from the previous quarter.
  • 73,700 employees involved, an increase from 11,400 in the previous quarter.
  • 128,100 working days lost, an increase from 19,600 in the previous quarter.

Year ended estimates:

  • 154 disputes occurred, 54 more than in the previous year.
  • 234,600 working days were lost, 176,900 more than the previous year.

Industrial disputes which occurred during the quarter
 Number of disputesEmployees involvedWorking days lost
New (no.)Total (no.)New ('000)Total ('000) ('000)
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
September Quarter 2021395011.713.318.5
December Quarter 2021375550.657.268.5
March Quarter 2022223010.111.419.6
June Quarter 2022455271.273.7128.1

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 eight industries. More than four in five (91%) working days lost were in the Education and training; Health care and social assistance industry.

Industrial disputes which occurred during the quarter, industry
 March Quarter 2022June Quarter 2022
Working days lost ('000)Working days lost per thousand employees (no.)Working days lost ('000)Working days lost per thousand employees (no.)
Mining
 Coal miningnpnpnpnp
 Other mining0.20.70.10.5
Manufacturing
 Metal product etc (a)npnpnpnp
 Other manufacturing1.83.80.71.4
Construction1.61.70.60.6
Transport, postal & warehousing0.81.42.64.3
Education & training; Health care & social assistance8.22.8116.639.2
Other industries (a)6.61.06.91.0
All industries19.61.6128.110.4

-     nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
np  not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated
(a)  see Glossary - Industry - for details of industries included

States and territories

Disputes occurred in seven states and territories in the June quarter, with more than four in five (94%) working days lost occurring in New South Wales.

Industrial disputes which occurred during the quarter, states and territories
 March Quarter 2022June Quarter 2022
Working days lost ('000)Working days lost per thousand employees (no.)Working days lost ('000)Working days lost per thousand employees (no.)
New South Wales11.73.1120.631.2
Victorianpnp2.90.9
Queensland2.91.20.60.2
South Australia1.51.81.82.3
Western Australianpnp1.30.9
Tasmania----
Northern Territory--0.10.7
Australian Capital Territory--0.73.3
Australia19.61.6128.110.4

-     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 74% of disputes (17 of 23) which ended in the March quarter 2022.

Cause of disputes which ended during the quarter
 December Quarter 2021March Quarter 2022
Number of disputes (no.)Employees involved ('000)Working days lost ('000)Number of disputes (no.)Employees involved ('000)Working days lost ('000)
Enterprise Bargaining related
 Remuneration11npnp62.22.9
 Employment conditions318.527.3110.92.4
 Other 20.10.1---
Non-Enterprise Bargaining related
 Remuneration---1npnp
 Employment conditions1npnp1--
 Health and safety11.01.034.23.1
 Job security------
 Managerial policy14444.11npnp
 Union issues------
 Other------
Total 4754.576.1238.08.8

-    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 23 disputes which ended in the March quarter, 10 lasted for over two days and up to five days. These disputes had:

  • 1,100 employees involved; and
  • 3,600 working days lost.
Working days lost for disputes which ended during the quarter
 December Quarter 2021March Quarter 2022
Number of disputes (no.)Employees involved ('000)Working days lost ('000)Number of disputes (no.)Employees involved ('000)Working days lost ('000)
Up to and including 1 day121.91.796.74.2
Over 1 day and up to 2 days1247.448.52npnp
Over 2 days and up to 5 days94.413.0101.13.6
Over 5 days and less than 10 days20.10.61npnp
10 days and over120.712.41npnp
Total4754.576.1238.08.8

 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. 

There was a pre-determined return to work for 65% of disputes (15 of 23) which ended in the March quarter 2022. 

Reason work resumed for disputes which ended during the quarter
 December Quarter 2021March Quarter 2022
Number of disputes (no.)Employees involved ('000)Working days lost ('000)Number of disputes (no.)Employees involved ('000)Working days lost ('000)
Negotiation without intervention of a third party80.98.5---
State legislation------
Federal legislation1npnp2--
Pre-determined return to work3452.166.2152.84.6
Resumption without negotiation11.01.041.91.5
Mediation3npnp23.32.6
Other reasons------
Total 4754.576.1238.08.8

-     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

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Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6321.0.55.001.

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