The number of employment tribunal claims has fallen by over 70% since fees were introduced in July 2013. Excessive fees, of up to £1,200, to bring employment tribunal claims are pricing many workers out of justice.
A review of the impact of the fees regime was promised when fees were first introduced almost two years ago. The stated aim of the review is to see if the government’s original objectives have been met. The objectives are stated as being;
- financial - through transferring a proportion of costs to the user,
- behavioural - in encouraging other ways of resolving disputes, and
- seeking to maintain access to justice.
Marion Scovell, head of Prospect legal, said: “It is sadly very clear that the government’s objectives of reducing costs and claims to the tribunal have been met, but equally obvious that this has been at the expense of removing access to justice to a vast number of unfairly treated workers.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Tribunal fees have been a gift for Britain’s worse bosses allowing many to flout the law.”
There is no timetable for the review but the Ministry of Justice states that it is expected to be completed this year, with further consultation on any changes.
Marion Scovell said: “The fall off in claims has been scandalous. This government has not only made it easier and cheaper to sack workers through their onslaught on workers’ rights over the last five years, but have also removed the opportunity for many workers to pursue valid claims.
"However the number of claims presented by Prospect has not dropped, as we pay the fees for members where we support the case. This shows just how important union membership is”.