Well along with the good employment figures, the ABS also released the quarterly industrial disputes, and surprise, surprise, the amount of working days lost fell in the December quarter:
Look I know, I know. Who wants all that context, – show us up close, show us the past 10 years:
OK, look context is confusing. We all know that the December quarter is the low one for strikes, after all this time last year, The Australian noted when trying to explain why industrial disputes fell:
“But industrial disputation fluctuates seasonally, and generally falls in the final quarter of the year as workers go on annual leave.”
And given disputes have fallen in 12 out of the past 20 December quarters I guess “generally falls” means, falls just a bit more than it rises.
But hey, let’s not get bogged down in facts. Let’s assume December is the low quarter. Let’s see what the figures look like if we just look at the December quarter:
Yep, it is the second lowest number of disputes in a December quarter since the ABS has started counting.
Damn militant unions.
OK, OK, I know what you’re saying, the key is to look at the annual numbers:
Again, too much context, let’s look at that past 10 years
Yep it did rise, and now it’s going down. And why did it rise? In the main due to disputes in the Education and training and Health Care systems. Due to disputes with state governments. In IR systems outside of the Fair Work Act.
But hey, we need to return the balance in IR and all that.
What about actual number of disputes, rather than the number f hours lost. Surely the new IR regime has led to strike nirvana?
Jeebus. You can see why businesses, The Oz and the AFR are worried.
OK, look, Quarterly figures hide things. Let’s look at the annual numbers of disputes:
So the Fair Work Act came in in July 2009. Gee, you can see the big jump after that.
Here’s breakdown according to industry, which shows that again, Education & Health etc is the main area:
On the per thousand employees measure however, the coal industry has been the worst hit:
And for the context of the coal industry disputes (the figures only go back to 2008 and many quarters there is nothing to count):
Sure there was an increase on this measure in 2011-12. Seems to have eased a fair bit.
But no doubt the usual suspect will find something. My guess – the annual figures (and compare it to the bottom of 2007) and the coal mining per thousand.