Number of days lost to strikes grows with rising inequality

The number of man-days lost due to strikes has averaged 3.4 million a year for the nearly two decades of democracy. That is the average; the actual number has fluctuated wildly from less than 1 million to over 12 million in some years.

In five of the 19 years, less than 1 million man-days were lost, while in two of those years more than 12 million days were lost. The difference was the civil service – when 1 million or more workers go out on strike, the numbers run up quickly.

In 2011, 5.4 million man-days were lost. This too was largely due to municipal workers who went out on strike. There were about 280 000 municipal workers in 2011, so the numbers clocked up quickly.

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