Issue date
26 Jul 2017

The Supreme Court has today (Wednesday) quashed the UK government’s system of fees for employment tribunals.

The case was taken by the UNISON trade union, which successfully argued that the fees – which can be as high as £1,200 per case — prevented many workers from enforcing their employment rights.

Employment tribunals in Wales had fallen by 70% since the introduction of fees. 2,561 individual claims were made before fees were introduced in 2013, but in comparison only 757 were made in the most recent year.

The most common reasons for employment tribunal cases include unfair dismissal, holiday pay, and sex discrimination.

Wales TUC General Secretary Martin Mansfield said:

“This is a massive win for working people in Wales. Congratulations to UNISON for doggedly pursuing this case. Today’s result shows the value of working people standing together in trade unions.

“Low-paid workers across Wales were priced out of justice, even when they’ve been faced with harassment or have been sacked unfairly.

“Tribunal fees have been a bonanza for bad bosses, giving them free rein to mistreat staff.

“The government must now refund all past fees as soon as possible.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

- UNISON’s statement is here: www.unison.org.uk/news/article/2017/07/tribunal-fees-victory/

- Figures from August 2012 – July 2013 (prior to fees being introduced) and April 2016 – March 2017 (the most recent figures available):

Region

Single claims in August 2012 – July 2013

Single claims in April 2016 – March 2017

% drop

London

13,108

4,573

65%

Midlands

8,385

2,346

72%

North East

6,770

1,939

71%

North West

6,072

1,869

69%

South East

8,610

2,667

69%

South West

5,372

1,444

73%

Wales

2,561

757

70%

Data source:  data.gov.uk/dataset/tribunals-and-gender-recognition-statistics/resource/4218bf13-3f1f-4ad0-bd86-f9466000e0da

- TUC research has shown that this fall was especially high in cases involving part-time work rules (-83%), sexual orientation discrimination (-75%), and unauthorised deductions from wages (-78%). While trade unions often pay the fees for their members, the figures indicate that many workers simply cannot afford to take a case.

Reason for claim

Claims Jan-Mar 2013

Claims Jan – Mar 2016

Change

Working Time Directive

52,204

4,305

-92%

Part time workers regulations

204

21

-90%

Written pay statement

388

66

-83%

Redundancy pay

3,205

636

-80%

Unauthorised deductions from wages

21,213

4,598

-78%

Age discrimination

810

197

-76%

Sexual orientation discrimination

154

38

-75%

Unfair dismissal

11,041

2,867

-74%

National minimum wage

122

34

-72%

Redundancy:  failure to inform & consult

3,635

1,028

-72%

Written statement of reasons for dismissal

212

59

-72%

Written statement of terms and conditions

854

253

-70%

Transfer of an undertaking

255

83

-67%

Race discrimination

1,240

435

-65%

Breach of contract

7,804

3,078

-61%

Religion or belief discrimination

248

97

-61%

Sex discrimination

6,017

2,453

-59%

Suffer a detriment / unfair dismissal – pregnancy

388

175

-55%

Disability discrimination

1,811

831

-54%

Equal pay

7,928

5,447

-31%

 Source: Tab ET.3: www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/575422...
- Government research on fall in employment tribunal cases: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/review-of-the-introduction-of-fees-i...
Contacts:
Alex Bevan T: 029 2034 7010 M: 07912851929 E: [email protected]