Decline in number of strikes

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The number of strikes and lockouts declined by 13.6 per cent during 2004, the Government said on Wednesday.

The Union Labour Ministry said industrial disputes, too, came down from 552 during 2003 to 477 in 2004, with the public sector accounting for 49 disputes (59 in 2003) and the private sector 428 disputes (493).

Among the States, West Bengal accounted for the highest number of mandays lost (17.56 million) during 2004 followed by Rajasthan (1.33 million) and Maharashtra (1.3 million).

In the Central sphere, Andhra Pradesh had the highest number of 12 industrial disputes.

Among the industrial groups, the manufacturing division accounted for the highest number of 307 disputes (64.36 per cent) with a loss of 17.26 million mandays.

Not even a single lockout was reported in the Central sphere, either from the public sector or the private sector. In the State sphere, there were two lockouts in the public sector and 239 in the private sector.

The strikes and lockouts involved over 20.72 lakh workers. Though the number of disputes in the public sector was considerably less, the number of workers involved was high: 15.89 lakh workers as against 4.82 lakhs in the private sector.

The number of mandays lost to industrial disputes also declined by 21.12 per cent. More than 23.8 million mandays were lost during 2004 against 30.25 million during 2003. In the public sector, the decline was 73.66 per cent; it was 5.72 per cent in the private sector.

Textile manufacture accounted for the largest time loss (12.13 million mandays or 70.26 per cent) of the total time loss in the manufacturing division. Among the industrial disputes in the Central sphere, banks accounted for the largest number of time loss (1.22 million) followed by the industry group coal and mines (0.32 million mandays).