Professor Stuart quoted on strike action in Yorkshire Post

The Yorkshire Post discusses the recent spate of strikes and asks whether the UK is returning to the 'bad old days' of widespread industrial unrest.

The article uses the recent London Tube strikes and industrial action by Southern Railways and British Airways as examples. The reporter asks whether it is comparable with the 1979 'winter of discontent'. 

Mark Stuart, Montague Burton Professor of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations at the University of Leeds, argues that we aren’t seeing more strikes today. He says most disputes still revolve around pay and conditions and the introduction of new technology, as they have in the past.

If you look at the statistics, the numbers have been pretty low over the past 10 or 15 years, so we’re not seeing a resurgence in the number of strikes compared to the 1970s and 80s. I think we’re likely to see strikes continue but they will be set piece events involving one day here and one day there, but there won’t be a return to the levels we’ve seen in the past.

Dr Chris Renwick, from the University of York’s Department of History draws the same conclusion. “In 1979, there were 29 million [working] days lost. When we compare this to 2016, where up to 169,000 working days were lost as of November, we can see that these numbers are not massively significant.”

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