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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 February 2008, 09:43 GMT
Cash bid to resolve work disputes
Stressed worker
Acas will use the money to improve its helpline
The government is to spend an extra 37m to speed resolution of workplace disputes and reduce the need for industrial tribunals.

The funding, to come over three years, will allow conciliation service Acas to boost its helpline services.

The money should allow Acas to offer help at any stage of a dispute.

Bosses spend huge amounts of time on formal disciplinary hearings, said an employers' group, which welcomed the government's move.

Early resolution

The government wants to simplify the system for resolving disputes.

"This new system will strike a balance between ensuring workers can protect their rights through employment tribunals while helping them to resolve disputes as early as possible," said Pat McFadden, minister for employment relations.

Acas chairman Ed Sweeney said: "Acas gives the taxpayer outstanding value for money, with every pound invested in us resulting in a 16 benefit to the economy."

"This new investment will enable us to increase our effectiveness and spread the benefits more widely."

The average employer spends 350 days a year of management time dealing with formal disciplinary and grievance cases as well as employment tribunal applications, said the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), which welcomed the move.

"Hopefully this investment signals the start of a gradual culture change in how conflict at work is managed, from one where litigation is frequently the first step, to one where mediation and more informal dispute resolution in general becomes much more commonly used," said Mike Emmott, CIPD's employee relations adviser.

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