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Acas Chair calls for employers to resolve disputes earlier

Wednesday 18 October 2006

Rita Donaghy, Acas Chair, today called upon employers and employees to work together and resolve workplace disputes as early as possible. Left unresolved, disagreements can damage workplace relationships which can affect business efficiency.

Speaking at today's 'Dispute Resolution and Workplace Mediation Summit' in London, she urged employers to seek ways of dealing with issues as they arise rather than waiting until it impacts on the working environment.

Disputes can lead to low morale, increased absence or, if unresolved, an employment tribunal. In 2005/06 there were 109,712 applications to employment tribunals.

Rita Donaghy, Acas Chair, said

"With any relationship breakdown if the individuals stop talking, it often takes intervention from a third party to get communication back on track. Workplace mediation is increasingly being recognised as the ideal way to resolve workplace disputes between employers, employees or colleagues.

"Most people don't like conflict which is why a mediator can help individuals focus on where things have gone wrong and possible ways of moving forward. It makes good business sense to have good working relationships. Disputes and disagreements at work are costly in time and money.

"We believe that prevention is better than cure and mediation is just one of the services we offer which can help to resolve conflict in the workplace before it gets out of hand. Our new training course called 'Handling difficult conversations' will equip line managers with the right skills to deal with day to day people matters and help avoid conflict escalating."

Acas offers a range of mediation services. Our independent mediators help resolve workplace conflict, typically at an early stage, and we also train individuals from other organisations to be their own workplace mediators. Visit for more information.

Notes to editors

1. The Acas helpline - 08457 47 47 47 is open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday.

2. Acas' aim is to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. It provides information, advice, training and a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent or resolve problems and improve performance. It is an independent statutory body governed by a Council consisting of the Acas Chair and employer, trade union and independent members.

For press enquiries please contact Kim Huggins or Lou Owen, tel: 020 7210 3894/3920.