Acas job cuts could lead to more disputes

The chief executive of Acas has warned that cutbacks to the conciliation service will result in an escalation in workplace disputes.

John Taylor gave evidence to the trade and industry select committee as he prepared to cut 150 jobs – a sixth of the workforce at Acas. “We should not be exempt from good government or the taxpayer getting better value for money,” he told MPs. “But very simply we can’t lose 150 front-line staff and continue to supply the same kind of service.”

Cuts begin this week and will be carried out over the next four months as part of the government’s public sector efficiency drive.

If the number of tribunals does increase it could be very costly to employers, staff and the taxpayer. The CBI estimates that disputes cost 2,000 if they go to court, but only 450 if Acas solves them in the conciliation phase. This saves the Treasury 13m a year, according to the employers’ group.

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