Nearly half a million working days (462,960) were lost to strikes in 2012, according to an Economy and Trade Ministry report released Sunday, the vast majority of which came from the public sector.Overall, the public sector accounted for 79 percent of the strikes, 98% of the of the strikers and 98% of the workdays lost.“This year, the general strike declared by the Histadrut [labor federation] over improving the standing of the contract workers’ conditions stood out,” said Shlomo Yitzhaki, chief of labor relations at the ministry. The same issue led to strikes in 2011, a year that saw further days lost to a nurses’ strike in hospitals and general strikes, he said.A total of 168,950 workers took part in 24 strikes in 2012, a drop from the 290,800 participants in the 27 strikes in 2011. Some 90,000 more days were lost to strikes in 2011.“There was a slight moderation in the number of full strikes in the economy in 2012 in comparison with 2011,” Yitzhaki said. Despite the decrease, the raw numbers indicate a stable high level of work days lost to strikes, he said. More than half the strikes (54%) were over wage demands, while other areas such as outsourcing (13%) and dismissals (8%) took significantly less attention.While most of the strikes (71%) lasted just one day, 13% went from three to nine days, 8% extended nine to 14 days and another 8% stretched between 14 to 28 days.