By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — Industrial disputes in Ireland last year resulted in the highest number of days lost by industry since 1990, according to figures issued by the central statistics office. There were 222,916 days lost in comparison to only 37,374 in 1998.
The CSO said 32 industrial disputes affected 36,505 workers in 127 firms, 90 percent of them in service industries.
The nationwide strike by nurses last October — when 178,532 days were lost — accounted for 80 percent of the total.
On average during the 1990s, 116,000 days per year were lost due to disputes compared to 317,000 in the 1980s and 584,000 in the 1970s.
National pay deals involving government, unions, employers and social partners, representing the under-privileged, have been fundamental to economic success since the 1980s.
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Last month a new deal was signed which promised industrial peace in return for an average 15.75 percent pay rise and 10-percent cut in taxes over 33 months.
However, the country has been hit by disputes in state transport companies with workers seeking 20 percent above the agreement terms.
Wages rises of up to 30 percent are being sought by workers in other sectors, including teachers and TDs and senators.