Ruth Mitchell

North East workers' biggest worries

Figures published by employment relations service Acas shows that the North East receives the second highest number of employment tribunal claims. In total, 15,615 claims were made over the last year in the North East.

Equal pay was one of the biggest workplace worries for North East workers, followed by unfair dismissal with 2,506. A total of 844 claims were made for breach of contract - higher than any other British region.

To prevent businesses losing time and money, Acas is urging employers and managers to seek early advice and prevent disputes. The service’s latest reseach has revealed that seeking advice on workplace problems helps avert employment tribunals.

The Acas Helpline Survey 2007 was undertaken with employers, employees and third parties who had used the Acas national helpline. It showed that almost a quarter (23%) of employees had been considering making an employment tribunal claim before calling, but of this percentage, almost a third (30%) decided against pursuing a claim as a result of the information provided.

Almost half of the employers who responded said that their call to the helpline had prompted them to update or improve existing policies at their workplace, and 45% reported that their call had motivated them to implement new policies.

Wendy Parker, Area Director from Acas North East, said: “These findings show that talking things through can make a huge difference. Employment tribunals are not only expensive, time-intensive and stressful, but they can also damage reputations. As well as using our helpline service and website, we are urging businesses and employees in the North East to take a ‘prevention over cure’ approach and stop these types of problem escalating to employment tribunals.”

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