LONDON, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- The number of workers in Britain involved in labor disputes in 2015 was the lowest number since records began in 1893, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said here Tuesday.
The number of days lost as a result of industrial action by 81,000 workers was put at 170,000 which was the second lowest days lost since records started in the reign of Queen Victoria.
ONS said last year's figure was compared to the 788,000 days lost in 2014, a year when a number of large-scale public sector strikes by 733,300 workers took place.
In a change to recent years, the largest number of days lost through labor disputes in 2015 was in the transport and storage sector, while the majority of individual strikes occurred in education as a result of action by teachers and lecturers.
ONS said the region with the highest working days lost was Northern Ireland, followed by London, with Scotland in the third place for days lost. In 2014 England's northeast region counted for the highest number of days lost, followed by London with Yorkshire/Humberside in the third place.
"Pay was once again the principal cause of labor disputes in 2015. This has been the main cause of labor disputes for the last ten years, with the exception of 2009 and 2010, when the main cause was redundancy," said an ONS spokesman.
Last year, pay disputes accounted for 85 percent of all labor strikes, and also accounted for 71 percent of days lost through industrial action.
Labor disputes last year were equally divided between the public and private sectors, with more working days lost in the public sector than in private industry.
The biggest ever industrial dispute in Britain took place in 1926, the year of the nine-day General Strike when over 1.5 million coal miners, dockworkers, iron workers, printers, railwaymen, steelworkers and other transport workers downed tools and walked out of work.
Since then the biggest peaks have occurred in the 1970s and 1980s mainly as a result of disputes involving coal miners.
Legislation to regulate industrial disputes, with a requirement for ballots before walk-outs can take place, have been introduced by various Conservative-led governments since the 1980s.
Responding to the statistics, the body representing major trade unions in Britain, the TUC, said the figures show there were 106 strikes in 2015, less than half the number of strikes which took place in 1995, an eighth of 1985, and a twentieth of 1975.
In 2015, said the TUC, the strikes meant a loss of just 0.003 percent of all working days. The majority (60 percent) of strikes lasted no more than three days, and over two-thirds were related to pay.
TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said Tuesday, "These figures show that going on strike is always a last resort when your employer won't negotiate and won't compromise. Strikes are far less common these days and tend to be short."
"Most strikes are about people demanding fair pay, which is unsurprising, given that real wages have fallen off a cliff in the past decade."
"Good industrial relations depend on fair wages and decent rights at work. The new Prime Minister (Theresa May) has spoken about raising wages, now it's time to live up to that promise."