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Cath Everett

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Top of Acas list of things to do: deal with unfair dismissal


While pay remains the single biggest cause of large-scale industrial disputes, unfair dismissal is the most common reason for individuals to use its conciliation services, says arbitration service Acas.

Although the number of large, collective disputes rose by 15% last year to 1,054, a huge 91% were either resolved or saw both parties move towards a resolution. High profile examples of such cases in which Acas was involved included the BBC, London Underground and British Airways.
But the organisation also dealt with almost 18,000 disputes between individuals and their employers via its pre-claim conciliation service, which aims to resolve workplace issues before they escalate into employment tribunal claims.
The PCC service dealt with 80% more incidents than the previous year, but the proportion that were not pursued any further rose from 70% to 74%, which meant that a total of 13,158 tribunal claims were prevented.
Ed Sweeney, Acas’ chair, said: “The success of our pre-claim conciliation service was highlighted by the government’s proposal to expand it in their ‘Resolving workplace disputes’ consultation. We know that tackling issues in the workplace as easy as possible can save time, money and stress for all involved.”
The conciliation service’s figures, which were revealed in its 2010/11 annual report, also indicated that the North West of England was the most likely UK region to suffer a large-scale industrial dispute, with 228 such incidents taking place last year. Scotland came next with 220, but the South West of England was the most peaceable with only 26 cases.

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