A new survey has found that 3 in 4 employers (76%) think that the various sides involved in strike action should seek mediation from Acas to resolve their dispute.
Acas offers a free service called collective conciliation that can mediate between employers and trade unions to help resolve disputes.
The YouGov poll asked respondents whether they thought the various sides in dispute taking strike action should involve Acas. Only 8% said that they should not use Acas and 16% did not know.
Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said:
"Acas has an excellent track record and decades of experience in resolving disputes between employers and trade unions. However, this service is voluntary so we can only help if all the parties involved in a dispute are willing to explore how conciliation can help them reach a resolution.
"Using an independent, impartial Acas conciliator in a long-running dispute can help bring a calm, fresh pair of eyes to identify common ground between the sides in dispute and find a way forward, which can help break a deadlock.
"We stand ready to help, and Acas has seen a 20% rise in demand for our collective conciliation compared to the same period last year. This help has included confidential background support to the parties involved in strike action."
Acas also commissioned YouGov to ask employees whether they thought the various sides in dispute taking strike action should involve Acas. 71% of employees surveyed said they should, 6% said they should not, and 23% did not know.
Acas has experienced and skilled conciliators that can offer a confidential space in talks to help parties in dispute find a mutually acceptable resolution.
They can help to identify areas of common ground, clarify differences and draw on their knowledge of industrial relations to help the parties move towards workable solutions.
Acas collective conciliators are independent and impartial. This means they do not take sides or impose solutions. They're there to help both parties find a solution that everyone agrees to.
The majority of Acas's collective conciliation work takes place before formal talks. It is a period of 'pre-talk support'. This can include sharing information informally between parties, educating them on different options for talks, exploring those options and discussing the support needed for the negotiators.
Acas handles around 500 collective disputes every year.
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Acas commissioned YouGov to poll employers and employees in representative samples of British businesses. The surveys were carried out online.
The total sample size for the employer survey was 1,013 senior decision-makers excluding sole traders. Fieldwork was undertaken from 9 to 18 January 2023.
The total sample size for the employee survey was 1,014 adults and fieldwork was undertaken from 12 to 18 January 2023.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc, have been weighted and are representative of British business size.
Participants were asked: The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) offers a service called 'collective conciliation' that can mediate between employers and trade unions to help resolve disputes. Do you think that the various sides involved in strike action should or should not seek mediation from Acas to resolve the situation?
The employer survey results were:
- Yes, they should: 76%
- No, they shouldn't: 8%
- Don't know: 16%
The employee survey results were:
- Yes, they should: 71%
- No, they shouldn't: 6%
- Don't know: 23%