Employers snub Acas scheme to cut tribunals

Acas’
much-heralded voluntary arbitration scheme to reduce the number of employment
tribunals is not being used by employers.

Launched
in May, Acas estimated that it would hear around 1,000 cases in its first year,
while the CBI believed the scheme could handle about 5,000 cases a year. It has
actually dealt with just five cases.

The
low take-up has been blamed on the voluntary arbitration needing agreement and
co-operation by both the employer and the member of staff concerned.

The
failure of the scheme to make inroads into the spiralling number of employment
tribunals means that employers’ main hope of reducing the increasing costs to
business rests with Government legislation.

Trade
and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt has published Government proposal to
reform the tribunal service, which she hopes will reduce applications by up to
30 per cent, or between 30,000 and 40,000.

By Paul Nelson

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