Changes in 2013 made it easier and cheaper for workers to be dismissed and harder for them to bring claims to a tribunal. We saw the introduction of fees to bring Employment Tribunal claims, new rules of confidentiality over employer' proposals to a worker to leave, and a reduction in the amounts of compensation for unfair dismissal.
More upheaval to employment protection rights is on its way in 2014.
Amendments to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) will be brought in from April 2014. The draft regulations have not yet been approved. The proposed changes include:
- Altering the coverage of TUPE in cases of change of service provider,
- Allowing for variation of terms and conditions negotiated through collective agreements after a year, and
- Reducing consultation rights where redundancies arise as a result of the transfer.
Pre ET Conciliation
A further shake up of tribunal procedures will come in April with the introduction of mandatory early conciliation. Claimants will only be able to make a claim after they have contacted ACAS to see if the claim can be settled. In theory this is good and our aim is always to resolve disputes, but the new rules will add a further complexity and confusion over time limits.
Pursuing equality claims
It has been a long standing right of claimants with possible equality claims to raise formal questions of the employer. This is an invaluable tool in fighting discrimination cases, but is to be abolished from April.
Prospect is committed to supporting members in the workplace and fighting their cases in tribunals where appropriate. The legal team will issue more detail on the new laws as final regulations are approved.
"The Government attacks on workers' rights exacerbate unfairness and inequality in the workplace" said Marion Scovell, Prospect Legal Officer, "but as part of the union members will be supported effectively and efficiently to safeguard their rights".