Acas refused to consult staff over job cuts, says union

Conciliation service Acas is on the verge of an industrial dispute of its own after staff submitted a petition demanding a formally negotiated agreement under Information and Consultation Regulations.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) submitted the petition signed by more than 400 Acas staff, following a refusal by management to consult them on decisions resulting in cuts to services and job losses.

Personnel Today exclusively revealed earlier this year that Acas was to cut both staff and offices in the wake of a government decision to slash its budget by 16% over three years.

Chairwoman Rita Donaghy said at the time the organisation was carrying out a comprehensive review of all its services to improve efficiency.

It plans to reduce staff numbers, close several offices and cut back its conciliation service in individual rights cases. Professional conciliators will be replaced with regional call centres. 

Steve Farley, PCS national officer, said: “Acas plays an important role as the champion of workplace consultation, yet management are failing to practice what they preach.

“Huge decisions have been made about job losses and cuts to services but management have refused to consult with the front line staff who provide those services about the changes.”

Farley accused management of making “some very bad decisions” which has resulted in plummeting morale and a vote of no confidence in Donaghy and chief executive John Taylor.

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