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UK — ACAS releases temporary employees before they can claim for unfair dismissal

29 October 2009

The government's Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), which will probably be asked to help Royal Mail and the CWU union to resolve their disagreements on working conditions and the issue of Royal Mail allegedly illegally employing temporary staff during a legal strike, has itself laid off temporary employees a week before they could claim for unfair dismissal, The Times reports.

Unions are up in arms at Acas's decision to hire temporary employees on an IT project for 51 weeks, then sack them and then replace them with other temporary staff for another 51 weeks.

Helen Burgess, associate at law firm Shoosmiths said "although ACAS is not breaking employment law, the move by an organisation that should be encouraging strong employee relations could send out the wrong message to firms."

"In terms of unfair dismissal these workers do not have the qualifying service to bring a claim, which is sneaky from ACAS."

The second phase of the nationwide postal strikes is now underway, with close to 44,000 union members striking today. Further 24 hour strikes are due to take place on Friday and Saturday this week.



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