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Rise In Workplace Conflict Resolution ‘Unsurprising’

Expert Comments On New Figures


The increase in the amount of time businesses spend on resolving conflicts in the workplace should not be viewed as a surprise, according to an employment law specialist at Irwin Mitchell.

Research by XpertHR has suggested that four out of ten organisations in the UK have spent more time over the past two years on addressing conflict, with regular reasons cited including harassment and personality clashes with managers and colleagues.

It also revealed that, despite the rise, a number of businesses do not view the level of workplace disputes they need to deal with as excessive.

Irwin Mitchell’s Employment team provide advice to a number of firms in relation to issues in the workplace, from the creation of policies which meet legal requirements to handling disputes which have arisen.

Glenn Hayes, a Partner and employment specialist at the law firm’s Leeds office, said the findings from XpertHR will not be too much of a shock to many organisations in the public and private sector.

He explained: “The release of figures showing such trends is hardly surprising considering the recent economic climate and its impact on many businesses, with many facing the need to make a range of changes over the past couple of years.

“As well as a rise in redundancies, a huge number of organisations have been forced to consider the introduction of restrictions on overtime, a cut in working hours and pay freezes – all at a time when people’s wallets are taking a hit due to the rising cost of living across the UK.”

Glenn added that it is likely that the number of conflicts will continue to rise in the coming months.

“The increases in the past few months have been reflected in the Tribunal system’s rise in claims, but it is likely that a further rise could emerge once the impact of public sector cuts takes hold, a number of very high profile pieces of industrial action being reflective there is no sign of this slowing down,” he outlined.

“On a more positive note however, it is clear the Government is taking measures to resolve the issue, particularly with plans to encourage more pre-conciliation through ACAS. Although the impact is yet to be fully seen at this stage, hopefully this will help businesses to resolve problems at the fight signs of unrest.”