date: 30 September 2004
embargo: 00.01hrs Friday 1 October 2004
New grievance and disciplinary procedures that come into force today (Friday) are so complicated that employees who have been treated badly at work will be denied access to justice, says the TUC.
From today all employers, regardless of how many people they employ, must have minimum grievance and disciplinary procedures in place setting out what managers and staff should do when things go wrong at work.
The TUC is concerned that whilst the new procedures will be well publicised and help will be forthcoming to employees in unionised workplaces, in factories, shops and offices where there is no union presence, employees will struggle to get their heads around the new regulations.
Anyone not understanding the new procedures and failing to act in accordance with them, may not be able to get their workplace problem dealt with by a tribunal.
Commenting on the new procedures, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Unions have always led the way in resolving disputes and grievances within the workplace, only ever resorting to employment tribunals as a last resort. But the new procedures are too complicated, and are more likely to create confusion than solve workplace problems.
Now more than ever before, trade union membership is the best safeguard to stop employees losing out under the new procedures. Employees in non-unionised workplaces dont have access to expert advice from trained union reps so will struggle to understand the new rules. Where there are no unions to help, staff are likely to be deterred from taking cases, so will find themselves missing out on justice at work.'
The aim of the new statutory procedures was to reduce tribunals workloads, but the TUC is concerned that inadvertently the new laws could have the opposite effect, resulting in protracted hearings and complex legal arguments on whether the procedures have been followed. Unconvinced that the new procedures are a step forward, the TUC aims to keep the Government to its commitment of reviewing the legislation in two years time.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The new minimum grievance and disciplinary and dismissal procedures that come into force today involve three basic steps:
Both employers and employees are now legally required to use the new procedures in full, including the appeal stage. Failure to do so will have serious consequences at any employment tribunal. For example:
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access
pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet
- A series of TUC rights leaflets are available on our website and from the know your rights line 0870 600 4 882. Lines are open every day from 9am-9pm. Calls are charged at the national rate.
Skills for Life and media enquiries : Dan Ashley T: 020 7467 1372; M: 07880 504 846;
Want to hear about our latest news and blogs?
Sign up now to get it straight to your inbox
To access the admin area, you will need to setup two-factor authentication (TFA).