The value of Acas conciliation

March 10, 1995

Fawzi Ibrahim's attack on Acas (Letters, THES, March 3) is astonishing. Mr Ibrahim is certainly not writing on behalf of the national executive of Natfhe, he is simply putting his own view.

As one of the seven Natfhe negotiators who heard Acas's explanation of its conciliation procedures, I can categorically state that the Acas officials were appropriately professional and polite. Ibrahim's opinion that Acas's "ham-fisted intervention and bullying tactics are a disgrace" is without foundation.The truth is that, in the recent past, Natfhe has found the services offered by Acas to be of great value. In 1990 the national contractual settlement for polytechnics and colleges and the 1994 settlement of the contractual dispute at Bath were achieved with Acas conciliation. These deals were accepted by the membership.

Natfhe's South West Region strongly believes that Natfhe should accept the offer of conciliation on the grounds that there is nothing to lose and a national contractual settlement is a great prize.

Finally, Ibrahim's bullish statement that there must be no retreat from the principles of the contractual proposals put by Natfhe on December 22 1993 must be set alongside the fact that Ibrahim himself agreed a local settlement on behalf of the branch at his own College of North West London which went way outside these same proposals.

Tom Jolliffe

Regional secretary

Natfhe, South West Region

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