Public and Commercial Services Union
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Acas dismiss staff to stop them getting full employment rights

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) today criticised a policy by conciliation service Acas to dismiss staff just before they gain full employment rights and qualify for the right to claim unfair dismissal.

The policy for Acas directors says: ‘In terminating the contracts of temporary staff after 52 weeks’ service we are at risk from ET claims, particularly when work they are engaged to carry out is still required.’

Acas has recruited a number of temporary administrative staff pending the introduction of a new computer system which is due to go live shortly.
 
PCS believes that to avoid the possibility of those individuals earning employment rights Acas has actively pursued a policy of dismissing them at 51 weeks, avoiding the possibility of unfair dismissal claims. Dismissed staff have then been replaced with new temporary employees.
 
PCS believes that this policy is both unfair and nonsensical. Not only are good employees being dismissed but there is significant additional cost in recruiting and retraining replacements.
 
One employee who works as an administrative officer in the Cardiff office is losing her job at 51 weeks despite receiving excellent appraisals throughout her employment. Her last day is 23 October, despite the Cardiff office being overloaded with work for the foreseeable future.
 
Commenting, Dave Cliff, PCS national officer for Acas, said: “The irony of this policy is breathtaking. Acas should be leading by example, not pursuing policies aimed at denying people their full employment rights.
 
"Not only is this policy unfair but it offers poor value to the taxpayers who have to stump up additional costs in recruiting and training replacements.
 
"It is ludicrous that in this tough economic climate trained people should be put on the dole when quite clearly there is work to be done at Acas. Acas need to reconsider its policy and start leading by example.”

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