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Swiss fact: work days lost to strikes in Switzerland close to one ninth of neighbouring countries

Across the ten years to 2008, Switzerland lost an average of 3 working days per 1,000 workers to strikes a year. This compares to 32 days in Austria, 33 days in France, and 55 days in Italy. Germany was close behind Switzerland with 4 days. The combined average for Switzerland’s neighbours: Austria, Germany, France and Italy, was 26 days. Switzerland’s 3 day average was one ninth or 11% of this.


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Further afield, an annual average of 22 days per 1,000 workers were lost in the UK, and 25 in the US.

The greatest everyday impact on most lives was probably felt in France, where 50% of missed working days related to transport strikes. This is why, when possible, it makes sense to avoid French trains and airlines during the holidays, France’s transport worker striking season.

Transport strikes also led in the UK, accounting for 19% of strike related missed working days.

Manufacturing strikes led in Italy (33%), Germany (49%) and the United States (22%). In Switzerland by contrast it was construction workers (28%) and civil servants (28%) who led. Over the ten years to 2008, only 2% of strike days related to Swiss transport workers. On those rare occasions when a train is cancelled in Switzerland, it is very unlikely to be caused by a strike.

Over the six years to 2014, days of work lost to striking in Switzerland dropped to 0.6 per thousand workers, before rising to 2.7 is 2015. According to RTS, the spike in 2015 was because of strikes by bricklayers organised by the unions Unia and Syna.

Switzerland has a reputation for good relations between staff and employers. In a recent study it was ranked first in this area.

More on this:
Swiss statistics office report (in French)  – Take a 5 minute French test now
International Labour Organisation data (in English)
2017 Global Talent Competitiveness Index (in English)


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