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Acas Chair calls for significant changes to dispute resolution procedures

Tuesday 11 September 2007

On Monday, 10 September, the TUC Congress Acas Chair, Rita Donaghy, called for a significant change to the current procedures for resolving employment disputes and emphasised the need to tackle disputes at the earliest stage.

Opening the discussions at the Acas fringe meeting, Rita Donaghy highlighted the need for a new system and welcomed the opportunity to discuss what this should be and how it might work. Key speakers in UK employment relations, including Pat McFadden, Minister of State for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs, debated possible approaches and the way forward for the new dispute resolution procedures.

Ms Donaghy said:

'Getting the balance right of protecting and treating workers fairly as well as encouraging employers to have clear procedures is vital. This is a great opportunity to debate the way forward for resolving workplace disputes and to be a part of shaping the new system. Acas' current guidance is the obvious building block for preventing disputes happening in the first place through good employment relations.

'Prevention really is better than cure, and with the average employment tribunal claim costing £9k it's also much cheaper. Every opportunity should be given to resolve disputes in the workplace before resorting to court action.

Where this is not possible, the system must allow for a quick, effective resolution that is fair to all parties. We understand that the government is due to give its formal response to the Gibbons consultation shortly and we look forward to working closely to make it a success.'

Acas has over 30 years' expertise in good employment practice.

Notes to editors

  1. The fringe meeting was held at the Brighton Conference Centre on Monday 10 September. Key people in UK employment relations debated the dispute resolution procedures. Speakers included:

    Rita Donaghy - Acas Chair

    Pat McFadden - Minister of State for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs

    Sarah Veale - Head, Equality and Employment Rights Department TUC

    Susan Anderson - Director, Human Resources Policy, CBI

  2. Acas aims 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 and interview requests for Rita Donaghy please contact Kimberley Huggins or Estelle Lam on tel: 020 7210 3894/3621. For out-of-hours call 07900 406992.