Overview:

  • records all strike action, apart from disputes involving fewer than 10 workers or lasting less than half a day

  • when measuring “stoppages”, the statistics exclude work-to-rule and go-slows

  • the survey is voluntary and is run as a census

  • covers all UK industry using the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)

  • historic data available from 1891

The Labour Disputes Survey collects data on the number of stoppages, working days lost, and the number of workers involved in strike action from UK.

The survey attempts to record all strike action that has taken place, except for those disputes involving fewer than 10 workers or lasting less than half a day. However, data is collected if 100 working days are lost due to a single dispute, regardless of the number of workers involved. Due to lack of press coverage, small disputes are not always included.

Disputes are picked up from reports in the mainstream media and newspapers. News and union websites are also a primary source of information. Where possible, the data are collected directly from the employer involved in the dispute. There are also centralised returns from large businesses, public bodies and trade unions.

The survey collects data in various ways, however the majority of the data are collected via email questionnaires. Data are also collected via telephone and in the cases of some nationwide strikes, a printed questionnaire is sent out.

Information on who accesses the data on a monthly or annual basis is not available. However we are aware that estimates are used widely across government. The statistics also attract regular interest from media outlets and the monthly estimates can regularly be found in the press. Other regular users include researchers, local authorities, development corporations, academics and private industry.

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