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ACAS: PARTNERSHIP TO PREVENT CONFLICT

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Issues such as insecurity, stress and the break-up of loyalties between employer and employed are playing an ever m...
Issues such as insecurity, stress and the break-up of loyalties between employer and employed are playing an ever more prominent role in workplace relations, ACAS chairman John Hougham told an international summit meeting of mediation and conciliation services in Washington DC today.

He challenged many of the techniques employed under the umbrella of so-called Human Resource Management':

'I have a personal belief that much of the success claimed for them amounts to little more than employers doing what they could get away with during times of recession with a workforce unwilling or unable to react.'

He said that, in an increasingly complicated and uncertain workplace environment, today's employers and employees are looking for advice and guidance on employment relations. 'Certainly in ACAS we have always regarded our work of dispute resolution as, in a sense, secondary to dispute prevention. In most walks of life, prevention is better than cure; and employment relationships should be no exception to this.'

ACAS seeks to improve the performance and effectiveness of organisations not just by resolving disputes but by building harmonious relationships at work. 'The British government has confirmed its adherence to this partnership principle, between government and business, between big business and small, between employer and employee,' said Mr Hougham. 'As for ACAS, we are putting increasing emphasis on our advisory and preventative work so that enterprises, and particularly the small and medium-sized ones, can use our experience to put in place best practice in working together.'
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