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 over this period for these four neighbouring nations was 26 days. Switzerland’s 3 day average was one ninth. or 11% of this.
Further afield, an annual average of 22 days per 1,000 workers were lost to strikes 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 clocked up the most lost days in the UK, accounting for 19% of missed working days due to strike activity.
Manufacturing strikes led in Italy (33%), Germany (49%) and the United States (22%). In Switzerland by contrast it was construction workers (29%) and civil servants (28%) who spent the most time striking. 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 unlikely it was 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.
Switzerland has a reputation for good relations between staff and employers. In a recent study it was ranked first in this area.