It’s almost 30 years since the final episode of “Blackadder” was broadcast but it remains one of Britain’s best-loved situation comedies. And the jokes are still funny. In one episode, when the title character asks his hapless sidekick Baldrick if he understands what irony is, Baldrick memorably replies “It’s like goldy or silvery, but made of iron”.

This week we’ve seen a situation publicly descend into a mess so ironic that not even Baldrick could fail to recognise it.

ACAS’s stated purpose, its reason for existence and indeed the derivation of its name is based on its commitment to conciliation and arbitration in workplace disputes. Employers and employees turn to ACAS to resolve their problems every day. If these guys can’t come to an amicable agreement then who can?

ACAS employees who are members of the Public and Commercial Services union walked out this week in protest over what they described as unmanageable workloads and generally poor working conditions. In their defence the union has contended that this action didn’t come out of nowhere. They say ACAS staff have flagged up their concerns repeatedly, but months of talks have produced an impasse. The Union argues that since last summer’s decision to abolish fees for taking a workplace grievance to an employment tribunal, the number of tribunals has soared by 90%. The strain is showing, on both the system and its officers. Industrial relations, ACAS’s specialty, appear to have broken down.

If there was an easy answer to this problem then employer and employee would surely have found it. Workplace relationships and staff motivation are complex issues, with variations from one organisation and one individual to the next.

Jane Systems doesn’t pretend to have all the answers but what we do have is a tried and tested HR system that brings people and departments together, stimulates increased engagement and training and helps you set the tone for productivity and success.

Jane Systems offers you:

A HR system that encourages your staff to take responsibility for their future, take pride in their performance and have confidence in their career development.

A service that meets every current legislative standard and offers you expertise in coping with changes to employment law.

A payroll system that automates complex processes, allowing you to run monthly, fortnightly and weekly payrolls, saving time and giving your managers the freedom to manage.

Software that helps you make the employment process efficient and motivational at every stage from recruitment to retirement.

We offer you a flexible, economical and people-focused HR and payroll solution that actively supports employee engagement and legal compliance.

There are no easy answers and no miracle fixes in complex industrial disputes, but there are steps you can take to keep your workforce engaged and help them feel like an integral part of the team, with a measure of control over their working lives. When you're ready to take those steps, the path will lead you to Jane Systems.

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