Public Sector Strikes

Strikes are back in the news, with industrial action in the past week by oil refinery workers and school teachers. As a result, there is growing public concern at the cost of these strikes and the interruption to vital services.

New TaxPayers’ Alliance research reveals that workers in the public sector go on strike far more than their private sector counterparts:

  • Over the last five years public sector workers have gone on strike for over 20 times as many days on average as workers in the private sector (see Table 2).
  • Over the last twelve months public sector workers have gone on strike for 895,000 working days, more than 100 times as many days on average as workers in the private sector (see Table 1).
  • This is despite public sector workers being paid more and being far more likely to enjoy benefits such as a final salary pension scheme.

Mike Denham, former Treasury economist and TaxPayers’ Alliance expert,said:

“Public sector workers have learned from past cave-ins that this government is willing to compromise taxpayers’ interests in the face of strikes. They know that politicians are far too ready to spend our money to avoid political embarrassment. And with the public sector four times more unionised than the private, strikes have increased sharply, leaving ordinary taxpayers facing untold inconvenience and expense, as well as the prospect of even higher taxes to buy off the strikes.”

Download the full report (PDF)

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