INDUSTRIAL disputes have dropped by more than half in the March 2018 quarter, reaching the lowest figure for 12 years.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed there were 23 disputes for the quarter, identical to the number recorded in 2006 – the first full quarter since Work Choices came into effect.

The number of disputes recorded for March 2018 is also 44 fewer than the December quarter of 2017.

The number of employees involved in industrial disputes in March quarter 2018 was 4,000, a decrease from 17,100 in December quarter 2017.

There were 14,900 working days lost due to industrial disputation in March quarter 2018, a decrease from 36,700 in December quarter 2017.

The Coal Mining industry (6,600) had the highest number of working days lost by industry, accounting for 44 per cent of total working days lost.

Queensland (7,100) had the highest number of working days lost of any state or territory in March quarter 2018, accounting for 47 per cent of total working days lost.

The sunshine state also had the highest number of working days lost per thousand employees (3.2) for the quarter.

In yearly comparisons, the 12-month period up until March 2018, showed 153 disputes, 61 fewer than in the year ended March 2017.

Over the same period, there were 137,700 working days lost, 13 per cent more than in the year ended March 2017 (122,200).

AMMA note: The ABS Industrial disputes data is often not a true indicator of the health of workplace relations in Australia. While it is accurate, converse to the anti-business narrative driven by the ACTU’s new campaign, that workplace disputes in Australia are at record lows, the data does not pickup unlawful union-organised protests (such as the Port of Melbourne walkout of 9 May 2018), nor do they record the damage that can be done through the constant strike threat during bargaining and industrial action that is planned, and then withdrawn, at the last minute.