More than nine in 10 collective agreements met through Acas conciliation were fully implemented in the workplace, the advice service has revealed.
Research into Acas’ involvement in collective conciliation also found that 76% of those surveyed felt that all or at least some of their concerns were addressed during the process, and the same proportion felt the issues were solved in the long term.
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In the 22% of cases where no progress had been made, the most common view was that one side or the other had not been sufficiently willing to move far enough to reach a deal, Acas said.
Eighty per cent of employers and 81% of trade unions were encouraged to move from their original position during the conciliation process, and satisfaction with the process stood at 84% for employers and 89% for trade unions.
Research company Ipsos MORI conducted 342 interviews with trade union and employer representatives who had recently taken part in collective conciliation on Acas’ behalf.
Users of the service typically reported having employed a mixture of strategies to resolve disputes before Acas became involved: 81% used bargaining processes; 68% escalated the issue to higher ranking personnel; and 42% experienced a threat of industrial action. The latter has increased by 16 percentage points since 2012.
The majority of users did not feel it would have been beneficial to seek Acas involvement at an earlier stage, typically because they felt the need to exhaust internal procedures first. However, 37% felt that earlier intervention from the conciliation service might have helped to resolve the dispute.
Both employers and trade unions rated the top three skills required of conciliators as being trustworthiness, impartiality and proactivity.
More than one-third said trust had improved between managers and workers as a result of collective conciliation, while just under one-fifth said productivity had improved.
David Prince, Acas chief conciliator, said: “These findings demonstrate how our experienced network of conciliators continue to play a vital role in resolving industrial disputes quickly to help Britain’s workplaces stay productive.
“We believe that early intervention and good workplace practice can help prevent disputes from happening in the first place.”