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More businesses using Acas

Posted by on in Employer Law

The number of businesses using Acas for advice on employment good practice has risen according to a survey of British workplaces.

The 2011 Workplace Employment Relations Study (WERs) found a 29% increase in managers using Acas since the 2004 survey.

Last year, the Acas helpline answered almost 925,000 calls on employment issues such as the Agency Workers Regulations and the Acas website saw a rise of around 10% in traffic with more than four and a half million visits.

The number of workplaces using grievance and disciplinary procedures that reflect the principles set out in the Acas Code has risen since 2004. For grievance procedures there was a 27% increase.

Other highlights from the WERs report include:

  • In relation to the economic climate, the survey revealed an increase in the number of strikes in the public sector.
  • Three quarters of workplaces changed some aspect of their staffing practices in response to the recession. The most common being a freeze or cut in wages (42%).
  • Low use of mediation to resolve individual disputes - 7% of workplaces reported its use.

The latest Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) quarterly Labour Market Outlook (LMO) survey has found that the first quarter of 2012 will be the most difficult quarter for the jobs market since the recession, as a greater number of private sector firms surveyed are planning to make redundancies.

The report’s net employment balance, which measures the difference between the proportion of LMO employers that intend to increase total staffing levels and those that intend to decrease total staffing levels in the first quarter of 2012, has fallen to -8 from -3 since the autumn 2011 quarter. This is the report’s worst figure since spring 2009.

The results also suggest a further widening of the north-south divide in job prospects. The net employment balance for the south of England has improved modestly to -1 from -4 in the past three months. London is the only region in the UK to register a positive score (+3). In contrast, employment prospects in the north have fallen to -20 from -17 over the same period.

This follows the most recent official Labour Force Survey unemployment statistics which showed that the north east of England (+2.3%) and the north west of England (+1.2%) saw the largest unemployment increases in the 12 months to November 2011.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Organisations that are planning to make redundancies expect 4% of their workforce on average to be made redundant.
  • Six out of ten LMO employers are not planning to create any new roles in the next three months.
  • Looking ahead to the next five years, LMO employers anticipate an increase in demand for roles in business and development (28%), sales and marketing (24%) and IT staff (20%).
  • Business support functions have borne the brunt among those employers that say they have been prevented from creating new roles during the past two years.

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