82% of employers want expert negotiators involved in talks to resolve strike action

A new survey has found that 82% of employers think it is important to have expert independent negotiators in dispute resolution talks to help resolve strike action.

The YouGov poll asked respondents whether they thought it was important to have expert independent negotiators in talks. Just 9% thought it was not important and 9% did not know.

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

Acas Director of Dispute Resolution, Kate Nowicki, said:

"It is clear from our survey that employers overwhelmingly recognise the benefit of having independent experts involved in negotiations to help resolve strike action.

"Reaching agreement in disputes takes time and skill, and Acas has a team of conflict resolution professionals who are independent, impartial and experienced in this field.

"We are ready to help, and our free and collective conciliation service can identify common ground between parties in dispute to find a way forward."

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

Acas can only hold formal mediation talks when all the parties in dispute agree that the time is right to use its service. 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. This 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

Media enquiries

Contact the Acas press office

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: How important, if at all, do you think it is to have expert independent negotiators involved in talks to help resolve strike action disputes?
The results were:

  • Very important: 39%
  • Fairly important: 43%
  • Not very important: 7%
  • Not all important: 2%
  • Do not know: 9%