Workers victimised for raising safety concerns will soon have to pay £1,200 if they want to seek justice at an employment tribunal. Unions have branded the move, announced last week by the government, 'a disgrace'. National union body TUC said the plans to introduce fees for tribunals covering the gamut of employer safety and employment law abuses will price low-paid workers out of justice and will mean workers will feel less able to raise safety problems at work. Changes scheduled to take effect in summer 2013 include measures that mean anyone who believes they 'suffer a detriment, dismissal or redundancy for health and safety reasons' may be required to pay an initial fee of £250 and a further £950 if the case goes to a tribunal, the maximum 'level 2' charges under the new system. A safety rep complaining of an employer 'failure to pay for or allow time off to carry out safety rep duties or undertake training' - denial of the legal right to safety rep training makes up the lion's share of safety-related tribunal cases - will have to stump up £160 to kick off a case and a further £250 to take it to tribunal. The same 'level 1' charges apply to workers complaining about an employer's 'failure to pay remuneration whilst suspended from work for health and safety reasons whilst pregnant or on maternity leave.' TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: 'It is vital that working people have fair access to justice, but introducing fees for tribunals will deter many - particularly those on low wages - from taking valid claims to court. Many of the UK's most vulnerable workers will simply be priced out of justice.' He added the government move means 'workers will be more likely to be mistreated at work as rogue bosses will be able to flout the law without fear of sanction.' UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said it was a 'disgraceful move that tips the scales of justice heavily towards employers, and denies legal redress to those who do not have the cash to pay for it.'
Briefing document (400 words) issued 20 Jul 2012
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc-21253-f0.cfm
printed 22 May 2013 at 23:05 hrs by 22.214.171.124