The recent rail strike was one that got away. ACAS's main success lies in solving disputes without industrial action and saving the state millions of pounds. Rupert Morris
Suddenly last summer, it was back to the old days at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS): two bogeymen (Jimmy Knapp and Bob Horton) trading daily insults in the media, while their delegations gathered from time to time at the ACAS headquarters in London's Wilton Street, in the glare of TV cameras. Inside, they would remain closeted until the small hours, while increasingly desperate and exhausted reporters would badger ACAS press officer David Mattes for the latest news: 'Is there a new offer?' 'Are the two sides together?' and eventually, as the deadlines slipped past: 'Have they ordered food? What are they having?'