Acas releases 2009/10 report
Acas’ 2009/10 annual report shows that it dealt with more than 900 collective disputes in the past year. Ninety-four per cent of cases, including high profile disputes such as Royal Mail and Milford Haven Port Authority, were either resolved or the parties were moved towards a resolution.
The report also shows that Acas dealt with more than 85,000 (net) employment tribunal cases for individual conciliation, an overall increase of 13% from 2008/2009 and the highest number ever. While the figure was a record for the year as a whole the trend is now in reverse - the number of cases received for conciliation in the second half of 2009/10 was three per cent lower than the equivalent period in 2008/09.
Nearly 10,000 cases were referred to pre-claim conciliation in 09/10 – the early conciliation service which aims to resolve workplace issues before they escalate into costly and stressful tribunal claims. In 70% of completed cases where PCC was appropriate, tribunal claims have been avoided, saving time and money for taxpayers, employers and workers. It is estimated that completing employment tribunal paper work alone costs employers on average £2,000 a case.
With a million calls, it was also a record year for the Acas helpline which provides advice and guidance to employers and employees on workplace problems. Redundancy, dismissals and discipline and grievance were the most popular topics.
Acas continues to play a critical role in helping employers find more creative ways to avoid redundancy and boost economic recovery with more than 20,000 employers and employees attending an Acas training course during the year.
Ed Sweeney, Acas chair, said: "Our new free early conciliation service is a real success story. It has contributed to the downturn in new employment tribunal claims in the second half of the year. Employers who have used the service tell us that they are particularly impressed by the way it resolves disputes much more quickly than tribunal claims.
“We continue to deal first hand with the effects of recession and the immense strain it places on workplace relations. We are seeing signs of improvement with employers and unions taking a more pragmatic approach by working together, looking at ways to try and save jobs and avoid redundancy. This is in stark contrast to previous recessions.”
Acas’ aim is to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. It provides information, advice, training that explains current legislation related to employment law training and a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent or resolve problems and improve performance, such as its model workplace tool. It is an independent statutory body governed by a council consisting of the Acas chair and employer, trade union and independent members.
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