Today marks the start of the longest train strike in British history. The 10-day walkout of South Western Railway will take place until 12 December when it will be temporarily lifted for the general election, before continuing through until normal service is resumed on 2 January. As is always the case. no trains will be running on 25 and 26 December, making a total of 27 days of striking over the next month. The strike is due to an ongoing dispute over train guards.
As figures from the Hans Böckler Foundation show though, while the UK is hardly a stranger to strike action, when compared to other OECD countries, it is certainly at the lower end of the scale. From 2008 to 2017, there were an average of 21 strike days per 1,000 employees each year – a long way below the French, where this figure sits at 118.
‘Strike culture’ is particularly strong in France, where on 5 December there is massive strike action expected. Many trade union organisations will demonstrate against pension reform with the strike to be carried out in many sectors, including transport, which is expected to cause major disruptions.
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