More than 80% of members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) working at conciliation service Acas have voted in favour of strike action.
Acas, the conciliation service, is facing the prospect of a strike by many of its workers after PCS union members voted in favour of industrial action in an ongoing dispute about workload and available resources.
PCS members backed the strike action by 83% with a turnout of 65.4%.
Speaking after the vote, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said:
This is a remarkable ballot result. Acas members are by their nature conciliators but they have been pushed to vote for strike action by the failure of management to deal with their genuine concerns.
There is still time for serious talks to take place on these issues but our members have shown their willingness to take action if management don’t change track.
The union has previously commented that it had “major concerns” about the issues facing Acas, claiming the conciliation service is “severely under-resourced” while the number of claims was increasing.
Responding to the PCS ballot result, an Acas spokesman said:
We are disappointed that some of our staff have voted for strike action. We have consulted extensively with PCS around the issues they have raised and we’re having further talks with them this week.
We are recruiting to fill vacancies on our helpline and we have created new jobs across Acas’s conciliation service. Over 75% of Acas’s staff will not be taking part in the strike so our offices and key services such as our collective conciliation service and helpline will continue to operate as normal.
We are working hard to minimise disruption to our individual conciliation service.
PCS members have voted in favour of a strike, as well as action short of strike.
They will begin action short of strike from 25 April – which will include no obligation to undertake any reactive or proactive work on early conciliation cases or employment tribunal cases which Acas defines as fast track. The planned action is also to include a one-day strike on 11 May and a 2-day strike on 6 and 7 June.