Industrial disputes have doubled as tensions rise between unions and the coalition government but they remain at historically low levels.
According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data, there were 48 disputes in the June quarter, up from 24 in the previous period – the lowest figure in more than a decade.
The number of employees involved in industrial disputes was 14,600, an increase of more than 10,000 on the March quarter.
Working days lost to industrial disputes fell to 12,500, down from 14,900.
About 5000 unionists hit the streets of Sydney on Thursday to protest against the federal government’s building industry watchdog.
The anti-Australian Building and Construction Commission demonstration came days after Prime Minister Scott Morrison threatened to deregister the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union.
ABS figures show the construction industry had the highest number of working days lost – 7200 or 58 per cent – of any industry in the June quarter.
Safety in that sector was again thrust into the spotlight on Thursday when one man died and another was left with critical injuries after a crane dropped a load on a Melbourne worksite.
The incident came after the construction union launched a counterattack on Mr Morrison during the week, saying he had been silent on the death toll in the industry.
Meanwhile, the union movement wants to make it easier for workers to win pay rises through industrial action and sector-wide bargaining.
But Mr Morrison rejected suggestions the coalition was against workers’ pay packets growing.
“Those who think that the Liberal Party aren’t interested in pay, we are,” he said in Albury on Thursday.
“Because we know a job changes a life and a wage changes a life and a family.”