78% of employers think that the sides involved in strike action should seek independent mediation

A new survey has found that nearly 4 out of 5 employers (78%) think that the various sides involved in strike action should seek independent mediation to resolve their dispute.

Acas offers a free independent mediation service called collective conciliation that can help employers and trade unions resolve their disputes.

The YouGov poll asked respondents whether they thought the various sides in dispute taking strike action should seek independent mediation. Only 7% said that they should not seek independent mediation and 15% did not know.

Acas Director of Dispute Resolution, Kate Nowicki, said:

"It is clear from our poll that an overwhelming majority of employers would like to see the various sides involved in strike action using independent mediation.

"Acas has decades of experience in resolving conflict and we have a team of experts that are well prepared and ready to help with the disputes dominating the headlines now.

"However, we can only hold formal mediation talks when all the parties in dispute agree that the time is right to use our free and independent collective conciliation service."

Acas has seen a 20% rise in demand for its collective conciliation compared to the same period last year. This help has included confidential background support to the parties involved in strike action.

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.

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 about talks, exploring those options and discussing the support needed for the negotiators.

Acas handles over 500 collective disputes every year.

Find out more about collective conciliation

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Background notes

1. Acas runs training courses for employers on conflict management at work. Acas also has advice on strikes.

2. Acas commissioned YouGov to poll senior decision makers in a representative sample of British businesses by company size. The survey was carried out online and the total sample size was 1015 senior decision makers excluding sole traders. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27 March and 4 April 2023.

Participants were asked: Do you think that the various sides involved in strike action should or should not seek independent mediation to resolve their dispute?

The results were:

  • Yes, they should: 78%
  • No they should not: 7%
  • Do not know: 15%