The Great Debate UK

Mediation service for workplace disputes on the rise

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Businesses and employees embroiled in conflict are tapping into a free conciliation service to avoid expensive employment tribunal claims at a rate that has doubled since September 2009, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service reports.

Acas, governed by an independent council funded by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills, fields about 87,000 tribunal cases a year to sort out disputes between employers and employees.

Complainants can call a telephone helpline as the first step, either before or after dismissal, rather than embarking on a costly and time-consuming formal legal tribunal procedure.

“The idea is to try and take out the heat and complications you have in employment relations and to stop you spending an awful lot of money and time by going to a tribunal,” Acas Chair Ed Sweeney told Reuters.

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