Workers conducted a total of 8,486 days of strike action during 2012. Figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Tuesday, 22nd January, record five industrial disputes involving companies with more than 10 workers. The disputes involved 1,920 workers and accounted for 8,486 strike days. The figures indicate a rise in industrial action among private sector workers. With 2012 seeing the highest number of days of industrial action recorded in this sector since 2005. The CSO recorded a total of five industrial disputes in 2012 compared with eight in 2011. The five disputes in progress in 2012 involved 1,920 workers and five firms, whereas 1,384 workers and eight firms were involved in industrial disputes in 2011. Two disputes in the Industry sector accounted for 72% of the days lost in 2012, with 6,114 of the 8,486 total days lost. During the fourth quarter of 2012 there were no days lost to industrial disputes. This is the first quarter since Quarter 3 2007 that no days were lost to industrial disputes in a quarter. SIPTU Manufacturing Division Organiser, Gerry McCormack, said: “The rise in the number of strike days is directly related to workers being forced into action to protect their jobs or by management simply abandoning normal Industrial Relations practices. The Kingscourt brick and Vita Cortex disputes are a perfect example of this.  Sit-ins are not considered strike action so therefore the days lost are actually higher.” He added: “They are also a response to the manner in which employers are now abusing the Social Fund to eliminate the need for them to fund statutory redundancy. What is also very significant is that over 100 private sector pay agreements have been completed over the past two years without the need for strike action.”