The number of strikes was down, but the number of strikers was up in 2006, according to figures released this week by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry. Some 125,730 Israeli workers participated in 35 strikes held in 2006, 22 fewer than 2005, although last year's strikes involved 24,000 more workers than those in 2005. A total of 136,189 days of work were lost in 2006 due to strikes, significantly down from 2005, which lost almost a quarter of a million days, and much lower than 2004, which lost 1.25 million days of work to strikes. Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai expects that the downward trend in the number of strikes will continue as new labor agreements are signed, yet he is still concerned about the withholding of wages that continues to take place. "We need to find a solution to this problem in order to help diminish the hardships faced by many of our workers," he said this week. According to the ministry, 34% of strikes resulted from wages being withheld, 14% from changes brought about by privatization, and the remainder for other reasons.