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New Acas report identifies workplace bullying, pay, new trade union bill and productivity as key workplace trends to look out for in 2016

Monday 04 January 2016

Workplace experts, Acas, have published a new report identifying key trends that will have an impact on workplace relations in 2016.

The full report, Workplace trends 2016, features commentary from Steve Elliott, Chief Executive of the Chemical Industries Association, Dr Makani Purva, Anti-Bullying Tsar at Hull NHS Trust, Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, as well as a range of Acas experts including Acas Chair Sir Brendan Barber.

Brendan Barber said:

"Acas has over 40 years of experience working with employers and employees, which makes us uniquely placed to look at the world of work in 2016.

"The new national living wage, Trade Union Bill, workplace bullying, the UK's continuing productivity challenge and the changing nature of work such as the increase in the use of zero hours contracts are likely to feature prominently in the year ahead.

"Our new report includes advice from a range of workplace experts around leadership, communication and the types of model behaviour that can help deal with these key workplace trends in the year ahead."

On workplace bullying

"Acas recently produced a study which revealed that workplace bullying is growing in Britain. Our helpline has taken calls from people who had experienced truly horrifying incidents including humiliation, ostracism, verbal and physical abuse.

"We will be taking up some of the suggestions identified within our study over the coming year such as having a public debate on workplace bullying to seek better solutions and looking into the feasibility of a Code of Practice or new Acas guidance on unwanted behaviour in the workplace."

On productivity

"Labour productivity is a real concern for the UK economy. If we were able to match the productivity of the US then this would equate to around £21,000 per annum for every household in the UK. It is an issue that will remain high on the agenda in 2016 and we will continue to work with organisations to promote and refine our thinking in this area."

On national minimum wage

"Businesses will need to prepare for the introduction of the new National Living Wage in April and look very closely at their pay and reward structures as well as dealing with how the changes will affect low paid workers."

On zero-hours contracts

"The Office for National Statistics estimates that around 744,000 workers in the UK working on contracts that guarantee no minimum hours. This is 19 per cent up on last year's figures which seem to suggest that zero-hours contracts will remain a significant feature of the workplace for some years to come."

On Trade Union Bill

"The new Trade Union Bill is currently being considered by parliament and will definitely have an impact on workplace relations if enacted this year. Acas' Chief Conciliator David Prince and the TUC's Frances O'Grady have written some insightful contributions in our report that look at the potential impact of the Bill and the importance of communication in employment relations."

Other Acas experts featured in the report include Acas Head of Strategy Gill Dix; Acas Chief Operations Officer Susan Clews; and Acas Chief Executive Anne Sharp. To download the full report, please see pdf  Workplace trends of 2016 [680kb].

Notes for editors

  1. For media enquiries please contact Shumon Ali-Rahman, Senior Media Manager on 0207 210 3688/ or Sophia Said, Media and Internal Comms Manager, on 0207 210 3680/ For out of hours media enquiries please call the out of hours duty press officer on 020 7210 3600.
  2. Acas stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. Acas provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. We support good relationships between employers and employees which underpin business success. We also provide good value, high quality training and tailored advice to employers. Our expertise is based on millions of contacts with employers and employees each year. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law.