A one day Acas strike took place on the 11th May 2018 over a sharp rise in workloads.
The 1 day Acas strike involved conciliators who were members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS). The union stated that the strike was over “unmanageable” caseloads, and changes that have been made in response to the increase in workloads which they say are “detrimental”.
Another 2 days of strike action are planned for June 2018, should the dispute remain unresolved.
The general secretary of the PCS, Mark Serwotka, stated: “Despite months of talks, our conciliator members at Acas feel they have no choice but to take strike action. It really has come to something when people who run a conciliation service can’t negotiate effectively with their own workforce. Hopefully this action will show Acas management that PCS members are serious about the real issues that need to be resolved.”
The Chair of Acas is the former general secretary of the TUC, Sir Brendan Barber.
A spokesperson for Acas stated: “We are disappointed that some of our staff have decided to take strike action. We have had regular discussions with PCS, we are committed to seeking a resolution and continue to work with our trade unions. Over 75% of Acas’ staff will not be taking part in the action so our offices and key services such as our collective conciliation service and helpline will continue to operate as normal. We have plans in place to minimise disruption to our individual conciliation service and maintain the best possible service to our customers“.
The Acas spokesperson added that Acas were recruiting extra staff to deal with the increased workload. However, the PCS stated that an additional 30 conciliators at the same level as those who were on strike were required.
The Increase In Work
Statistics released by the Ministry of Justice show that the number of claims increased substantially in the period between the abolition of fees and the end of 2017, with the number of single claims increasing by 90%. Meanwhile, the number of multiple claims has increased by 467%. Moreover, a report by the National User Group of Employment Tribunal also reported a big increase, whilst Acas statistics also indicated a sharp rise. Acas recently reported that prior to the scrapping of fees, they had been receiving around 350 ET1’s per week, but that since the abolition of fees, the number of claims they had been receiving had increased to 300 – 700 per week.