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Annie Hayes



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Acas staff in strike vote over pay


Union members working for the conciliation service Acas have begun a ballot for strike action in a dispute over pay.

The dispute concerns delayed pay settlements. Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) are angered that despite increases that were scheduled for 1 August, negotiations haven’t even begun. According to PCS, this year’s delay follows a 10-month hold up to last year’s 2007 pay increase.

Dave Cliff, PCS national officer for ACAS, said: “After the 10-month delay to last year’s pay rise we had an agreement that this year’s pay settlement would be paid on time.

“However ACAS management have dragged their feet and not even started negotiating yet. The prospect of a repeat of last year’s delay, combined with the likelihood of a below inflation pay award has left staff feeling angry and betrayed. Management and the government need to act quickly in order to avoid embarrassing industrial action in ACAS.”

In reaction, a spokesperson at Acas told “Acas have started discussions to resolve this as soon as possible.”

The pay delay is baffling members considering that just last month the outfit reported it had smashed its targets and has been allocated £37 million in extra funding over the next three years.

2 Responses

  1. Pay rises and industrial unrest
    Yes, of course many in the public sector may feel badly done by, not just ACAS employees; just as would anyone who had good reason to believe they already had an agreed deal, as one might possibly understand may be the case from this article?

    The emotion arising from feeling badly done by and broken promises, however perceived, will always be a powerful motivator for industrial unrest in any organisation. Wouldn’t *you* feel the same in their shoes?

    Even so, those more widely in touch with the broader employment world may inevitably be astonished at the lack of recognition of the wider picture seen by many employees, of typical wage rises of 0-2% in many smaller companies in particular, and collapsing pension funds more generally.

    We can’t be surprised about any negotiating body wanting their constituent members to buck economic constraints if at all possible, and ‘felt fair’ shared pain is of course an inevitable component of any equitable settlement.

    But without any ‘smell the coffee’ reality, for privileged workforces in larger organisations particularly, with protected pensions and HR policies that might perhaps make reasonable dismissal for lack of performance more easily resolved by promotion to another unsuspecting department rather than any formal disciplinary action, it may come as no surprise that external observers might feel little sympathy for industrial action, especially if impacting first on those on the receiving end who may have no immediate public voice.

    In hard times, as we especially face now, should not employers be utterly dependable in meeting past commitments to maintain employee goodwill, however ill-advised they may feel in retrospect, and be totally committed to spelling out the economic consequences downstream of future reward and fearless in their performance management? {One of the most frequent employee-complaints I receive as an independent and neutral adviser, is not how they themselves have been treated, but how poorer-performing colleagues have been… And ingnoring ‘office politics’, underneath they often know best of all!)

    Not a bad recipe for industrial harmony and future reward, for any employer or representative body of employees, unionised or not?

    The essence is surely shared trust of shared interests. Is this what may possibly be missing here?

    Yours thoughtfully


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Annie Hayes


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