The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has urged trade unions to improve their efforts to resolve industrial disputes before they reach the stage of strike action.
In a new report, the organisation claimed that disagreements could be put right sooner if greater peace-making attempts were made at an earlier stage and suggested that there remains some confusion about what conciliation entails.
"As we enter potentially difficult times in both the public and private sector, a neutral, impartial third party is a valuable tool," said Acas chair Ed Sweeney. "Collective conciliation allows the parties to stay in control."
The study found that 58 per cent of officials quizzed wrongly believed that bringing Acas into the equation would result in a solution being imposed on them, while a quarter were unaware that the body is independent from the government.
Entrepreneurs eager to improve relations with their workforce to avoid potentially damaging clashes should consider attending the Employee Engagement Summit 2011, set to take place in London next March.
Posted by Ross George