Five times as many working days were lost to industrial disputes last year as in 2005.
The new figures by the Office for National Statistics show there were 158 separate stoppages in 2006, more than in the previous two years put together.
Most of the 754,500 days lost last year were in public administration and defence, fuelled by disputes over job cuts and conditions in the civil service.
Around 40,000 days were lost in transport and communication and 31,000 in education.
Industrial action ‘up five times’