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Work Stoppages: September 2008 quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  22 January 2009
Commentary

Overview

After annual levels of over 400 in the late 1970s, the number of work stoppages has stabilised to levels of under 100 since 1990. In the past 10 years the number of work stoppages has exceeded 40 in only two years – 2002 and 2006.

Twenty-nine work stoppages ended in the September 2008 year, equal to the number of stoppages ending in the September 2007 year.

Annual comparison

The 29 work stoppages that ended in the year to September 2008 consisted of 23 complete strikes, five partial strikes and one lockout. They involved 5,101 employees, and losses of 10,393 person-days of work and an estimated $2.7 million in wages and salaries.

In comparison, the 29 stoppages that ended in the September 2007 year involved 7,020 employees, and losses of 16,738 person-days of work and an estimated $2.9 million in wages and salaries.

Annual Work Stoppages
September year Number of stoppages Number of employees involved Person-days of work lost Estimated loss in wages and salaries $(million)
2006 50 12,585 26,462 4.7
2007 29 7,020 16,738 2.9
2008 29 5,101 10,393 2.7

Average losses in person-days of work per employee decreased from the September 2007 year, however average losses in wages and salaries per employee increased over the same period. In the September 2008 year, an average of 2.0 person-days of work and $520 in wages and salaries were lost per employee. This compares with 2.4 person-days of work, and $419 in wages and salaries lost per employee in the September 2007 year.

Average Annual Loss per Employee Involved
September year

Person-days of work lost per employee

Loss in wages and salaries per employee ($)
2006 2.1 375
2007 2.4 419
2008 2.0 520

Industry distribution of stoppages

The manufacturing industry had the highest number of stoppages in the September 2008 year, with seven stoppages (24 percent of all stoppages). The transport and storage industry had the highest number of employees involved (contributing 31 percent of the total).

 Number of Employees involved Sep08. Estimated loss in Wages and Salaries.

 

Industry Distribution of Work Stoppages
Industry group Year ending September 2008
Manufacturing 7
Transport and Storage 5
All other industries combined 17
Total 29

Note: The 'All other industries combined' group includes the following industries: wholesale trade; accommodation, cafes and restaurants; property and business services; government administration and defence; education; health and community services; and personal and other services.  

Sector distribution of stoppages

Ten public sector stoppages ended in the September 2008 year, down from the September 2007 year when there were 12 public sector stoppages. Nineteen private sector stoppages ended in the September 2008 year, up from 17 for the September 2007 year.

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Public sector stoppages that ended in the September 2008 year involved 3,496 employees, and losses of 7,073 person-days of work and an estimated $2.2 million in wages and salaries. Private sector stoppages involved 1,605 employees, and losses of 3,320 person-days of work and an estimated $0.4 million in wages and salaries.  

Resolution of stoppages

The underlying dispute was resolved in 14 of the 29 stoppages that ended in the September 2008 year. Five of these were resolved through negotiation between the employer and employee or their representatives. Seven stoppages were resolved through mediation services provided by the Department of Labour. The remaining two stoppages were resolved through mediation provided by a private provider.

Fifteen work stoppages that ended in the September 2008 year did not have the underlying dispute resolved.

Quarterly comparison

Four work stoppages ended in the September 2008 quarter, down from the nine stoppages ending in the June 2008 quarter. The number of employees, losses of person-days of work and losses in wages and salaries are all down from the June 2008 quarter.

Of the four work stoppages recorded in the September 2008 quarter, there were three complete strikes and one partial strike. The stoppages involved 251 employees, and resulted in losses of 93 person-days of work and an estimated $12,000 in wages and salaries. The June 2008 quarter had nine work stoppages involving 3,890 employees, and losses of 7,412 person-days of work and an estimated $2,181,000 in wages and salaries.  

Number of employees involved quarterly. Estimated loss in Wages and Salaries quarterly.

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Ongoing stoppages

There were no ongoing work stoppages at 30 September 2008.

For technical information please contact:
Anne Chronican
Wellington 04 931 4600
Email: info@stats.govt.nz

Next release ...

Work Stoppages: December 2008 quarter will be released on 22 April 2009.

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