What do the stats tell us?

Industries facing structural change most vulnerable to drawn-out strikes and lockouts
By Gordon Sova
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/28/2006

The tables below tell the story of a relatively constant rate in employers locking out their workers, and of a propensity of unions to go on strike fluctuating with the strength of growth in the economy. Nothing surprising there. The numbers, however, may hide as much as they relate. A look at the specific disruptions making up these figures reveals a more interesting story.

Most of Canada’s largest telecoms, Bell, Telus, MTS and Aliant, have been involved in work stoppages, resulting in more than 50,000 person-days of work lost since 1995. So have Canada Post, the CBC, Videotron and Bell’s subsidiary Entourage. Other significant stoppages occurred in the supermarket sector, in meat packing and in paper and wood products.

Several of the large time-lost disruptions in the service industries can be put down to immature bargaining relationships. Manufacturing, especially sectors such as auto parts, machinery, primary metal and fabricated metal, is conspicuous by its absence from the statistics.