70% Fall In Tribunal Cases Down To Fee’s Say UK Unions

tribunal_1758948a-1The number of cases brought to employment tribunals has fallen by 70% since fees were introduced, a government review has found. Unions called for the fees of up to £950 to be scrapped.

The number of multiple claims taken to employment tribunals fell from 5,847 before fees were introduced to 1,740 in the year afterwards (2014-15) – a reduction of 70%. The number of single cases fell by a similar percentage.

TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “The government is turning a blind eye to the impact of tribunal fees. Thousands are being priced out from pursuing cases each month. Charging people to take a claim has been a gift to Britain’s worst bosses, and it’s allowed discrimination at work to flourish unchallenged.”

The Ministry of Justice engaged in some fact twising by saying: “While there is clear evidence that ET fees have discouraged people from bringing claims, there is no conclusive evidence that they have been prevented from doing so.”

But Unite’s Len McCluskey responded by saying: “The government is dealing in ‘alternative facts’ to claim that both the fall in employment tribunal applications is greater than they anticipated and that people are not losing out. The actual facts are that when working people are priced out of justice, and it is made exceptionally difficult for their unions to pursue it on their behalf, then the only winners are bad employers.”

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of Unison said: “The introduction of fees was a terrible decision. The lord chancellor should be big enough now to accept her department got this one badly wrong. Tribunal fees should be scrapped immediately before any more law-breaking employers escape punishment because wronged workers simply don’t have the cash to take them to court.”

General Secretary of PCS Mark Serwotka, said: “This review, slipped out while MPs are debating Brexit, shows a government not only content with closing off justice for workers but also celebrating a fall in discrimination claims as ‘broadly positive’”.

The MoJ proposed to increase the monthly income threshold for individuals to qualify for a fee waiver from £1,085 to £1,250, broadly the equivalent of full-time employment earnings on the national living wage.

Certain claims relating to insolvent employers will no longer require fees, effective immediately.

The Government’s proposals for reform are currently subject to consultation, closing on 13th March 2017.

 

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