A new survey by workplace expert Acas has found that 94% of employers and 91% of employees believe compromise is important for parties involved in industrial disputes to reach an agreement.
Acas offers a free independent service called collective conciliation that can help employers and trade unions find compromise and end disputes.
The YouGov poll asked respondents how important it was for parties involved in a dispute to compromise and reach an agreement to end strike action.
Just 3% of employers and 4% of employees thought it was not important. While 3% of employers and 5% of employees did not know.
Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said:
"Compromise can be elusive when parties are entangled in a dispute. However, it is clear from our survey that both employers and employees believe compromise is integral to successfully ending a dispute.
"Understanding and recognising the perspective of the other party may be tricky but it can broaden the range of solutions to help settle a dispute with Acas's expertise.
"Acas has a great track record of resolving conflict, with over 9 out of 10 cases resolved this year. There are a number of high-profile disputes ongoing at the moment. Acas experts remain ready to help."
Acas has seen a 12% rise in demand for its collective conciliation service compared to the same period last year and the service is helping the parties reach agreements in 92% of cases. This help has included confidential background support for parties in disputes.
Using an independent impartial Acas conciliator in a long running dispute can help bring a calm, fresh pair of eyes to identify areas for compromise between the sides in dispute and find a way forward, which can help avoid strike action.
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 600 collective disputes every year.
1. For employers: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size for employers was 1058 decision makers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21 and 27 August 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of British business size and region.
2. For employees: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1000 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17 and 23 August 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of British business size.
3. Participants were asked "In general, how important, if at all, do you think it is for the parties involved in an industrial dispute to compromise and reach an agreement to end strike action?"
The results for employers were:
- very important: 60%
- fairly important: 33%
- not very important: 2%
- not at all important: 1%
- don't know/not sure: 3%
The results for employees were:
- very important: 59%
- fairly important: 32%
- not very important: 3%
- not at all important: 1%
- don't know/not sure: 5%
4. Acas is the leading authority on workplace relations and dispute resolution in Great Britain. We provide free, impartial advice to employers and employees on workplace rights, rules and best practice. We also provide training and tailored support for businesses that can help them succeed. Acas is a non-departmental public body that is governed by an independent Council made up of employers, employee representatives and independent members.