The Economic Cost of Strikes
Repeated strikes may have serious consequences on the economies of the countries concerned. In fact, these strikes often affect the same sectors of the economy such as transport, education and health. It is important to note that more than 140 States around the world recognize the workers' right to strike. And few people today doubt that unions have played a large role in improving working conditions. However, repeated labour strikes can have a significant impact especially on fragile economies. But it remains very hard to calculate the costs linked to these strikes. Here are a few indicators and figures which of course are disputed either by trade unions or by employers' organizations. In 2016, 41 air traffic control (ATC) strikes have cost €1.6billion to the EU GDP. 35,000 flight cancellations imposed heavy costs on airlines but also on the tourism industry as a whole. And it should be remembered that since 2010 there have been 217 ATC strike days in the EU. The strikes that affected the French railways also in 2016, cost the company €20million per day. The tube strike in London last year has cost the British capital between £100million and 300million. For its part, the German Lufthansa has put the cost of the strike which affected the company at around €10million per day. This having been said, are we really able to calculate the costs of cancelled meetings, staff absences or even deserted stores arising or resulting from social movements ? In reality, we must admit that it is very difficult to quantify the full effects of social mobilization.