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Annie Hayes

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Record numbers seek Acas’ help

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People seeking help on employment law issues are turning to the Acas helpline in record numbers its annual report reveals.

In 2005/6 the helpline received 908,553 calls, compared to 880,787 the previous year. The top three topics were discipline and grievance, maternity/paternity and redundancy/layoff issues.

There were also a record number of visitors to the website, with 1.7 million visits. The most popular areas were Acas, the A-Z of work and Rights at Work. In addition, 25,000 people registered to use the seven e-learning packages, covering areas such as absence management and bullying and harassment.

The report shows that the number of claims to employment tribunals rose by 25 per cent, with 109,712 applications compared to 81,833 last year. Unfair dismissal continues to be the largest category of complaint with 35,944 applications.

One area where Acas’ role lessened was in requests to intervene in employment disputes and conciliate between the two sides. It was involved in 952 large-scale disputes compared to 1,123 last year. Pay continues to be the single biggest issue in disputes.

Rita Donaghy, Acas chair said: “We have had another busy and challenging year. Our commitment to improving organisations through better employment relations continues to drive the development of new Acas services.

“The challenge for us now is to continue to develop and maintain our high standards and help more organisations realise the benefits of good employment relations.”

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Annie Hayes

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