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ACAS: How to resolve an industrial dispute


The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) is often used to help find a solution to a dispute which is acceptable to both sides.  


ACASís main role is in helping to find a solution in industrial disputes


What is the ACAS role in industrial disputes?

ACAS can:

  • give impartial and confidential information and advice on trade union disputes
  • help resolve disputes over trade union recognition by voluntary means
  • help resolve disputes when a union makes a claim for trade union recognition under the Employment Relations Act 1999
  • assist with membership checks and ballots to help resolve trade union recognition issues
  • assist employers and trade unions to draw up recognition and procedural agreements and work together to solve problems. 

the act of reconciling or bringing together the parties in a dispute with the aim of moving forward to a settlement acceptable to all sides.

an independent arbitrator or arbiter (in Scotland) deciding the outcome of a dispute. The decision may well be binding in law.

acting as an intermediary in talking to both sides. The aim is for the parties to resolve the problem between themselves but the mediator will make suggestions along the way.

Further Reading

ACAS Commitment (ACAS website)
Talks offered in rail dispute (bbc 12.1.02)
Talks stall in airport pay row (bbc 31.8.01)


E-mail Steve Margetts