Labour Market

UK may foot a £5 billion strike action bill



Matthew Lesh writes for CityAM


Julian Jessop quoted by the Express

Len Shackleton writes for CapX

IEA Editorial and Research Fellow Len Shackleton has written for CapX where he calculates that the annual cost to the economy of strikes could be up to £5 billion.

Len wrote:

“Partisans of both sides tend to talk up the impact of strikes. Unions and their supporters want to emphasise how much employers and the public are losing out by not settling on their terms; critics point to the damage allegedly caused to the economy by irresponsible industrial action.

“It’s customary to focus on the first-order economic effects of strikes in terms of reduced output. This can be measured by the pay which workers lose plus the other factors of production which are lost when work is stopped.

“For a full year it would be a bit higher, though the rough calculations here (plus other possible calculations such as the knock-on effects of the Royal Mail dispute and delays caused by civil service and other public sector strikes) suggest that the cost estimate from the CEBR is on the low side. I’d be inclined to suggest an annual figure around £5bn.”

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