Conciliation officers at Acas who are PCS members are being balloted for strike action and action short of strike following the imposition of changes by Acas management to the conciliation service.
In January, PCS won an employment appeals tribunal ruling that Acas must consult PCS about these changes.
The imposed changes include the downgrading of conciliation work and the closure of the Acas office in Liverpool. This will only have a further negative impact on the many issues facing Acas at present, including
- The conciliation function in Acas is currently severely under resourced
- The un-agreed downgrading of conciliation work
- The equality issues raised by the proposed removal of Grade 10 work from London by 2019, particularly the adverse disproportionate impact on race grounds.
- The high court decision about the removal of fees has significantly increased cases (EC Claims and ET1s)
- There is a lack of development and training within the conciliation role
- Management has consistently failed to consult meaningfully with the union to find a workable solution.
We are demanding that Acas must provide a properly-resourced, funded, graded, trained, and regionally-based conciliation service.
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: "It’s quite remarkable that Acas – the government body charged with conciliation between trade unions and employers – should have gone to these lengths to avoid proper consultation with its own staff. We remain open to resolving this dispute by negotiation, and hope we can recommence talks with Acas management shortly. In the meantime I urge every member to vote yes for action to strengthen our negotiators.”
The closing date for the ballot for industrial action (both strike action and action short of strike) is 16 March. Members are urged to vote yes/yes and return their ballot paper by 16 March.