Twenty-five per cent rise in days lost due to disputes

THERE was a 25% rise in days lost due to industrial disputes in the construction sector around the nation last year, primarily on the back of the Grocon strikes in Melbourne in September.

Senate Estimates hearings on Monday heard the Fair Work Ombudsman had recorded about a 25% in "lost working days", due to industrial disputes in 2012.

The hearing was told the number of days lost rose from 16.9 per 1000 days in 2011 to 20.3% per 1000 in 2012.

That increase came as the FWO grapples with a $6 million cut to its budget in the coming fiscal year, but public servants said the legal and operational sections would be quarantined from the cuts.

Across the department, $3 million was spent on legal action last year, of $16.8 million total for legal and operational services while the office had a full budget of about $29 million in 2012-13.