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Sir Brendan Barber: Workplace predictions for 2016

Friday 01 January 2016

Acas Chair, Sir Brendan Barber, gives his workplace predictions for 2016.

Sir Brendan Barber

Sir Brendan Barber is Acas' Chair, joining in January 2014. Previously Sir Brendan was the TUC General Secretary (2003 to 2012) and sat on the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service Council (1995 to 2004). Sir Brendan was knighted in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to employment relations.

Acas Chair Brendan Barber blog

2016 will see momentous changes in Britain's workplaces. The new Living Wage coming in April will require many thousands of employers to change their pay structures. The challenge of preparing for the new apprenticeship levy, to be introduced in 2017, will also be high on the agenda for many businesses.

Boosting skill levels is, of course, one of the factors that can drive improved productivity and solving the so-called "productivity puzzle" is the most fundamental challenge that has to be met if our economy is to deliver the solid and sustained rise in national prosperity that we all want to see.

From Acas' perspective more attention needs to focus on the quality of workplace relations as a central driver of business performance and innovation. To support that Acas will be launching, early in the New Year, an accessible productivity toolkit to help businesses assess their strategies for boosting workplace performance.

Britain's economy, while showing signs of recovery, will continue to be buffeted by changing pressures from the global economy. Nearer to home, continuing pay restraint across the public sector may also see challenging disputes in hard pressed public services.

2016 could also be the year when our relationship with Europe is determined through the planned referendum. The impact of this decision on Britain's workplaces will be profound. Much of our current settled employment legislation and practice derives from the framework of agreed European law accumulated over recent decades. All of that would be in the melting pot of uncertainty should a decision to leave the European Union be made.

Whatever turbulences come along Acas will continue to promote best workplace practice and to assist wherever possible in resolving disputes when they arise.

1 Comment

  • Posted by Craig Gordon  |  4 January 2016, 11:14AM

    Perhaps Acas shouldn't be perpetuating the government's terminology re the "National Living Wage"? It has nothing to do with the Living Wage Foundation and conflating the two does, in my opinion, lead to confusion. We've decided to call it the NMW+ - as that is what it is.