Court ruling is victory for workers’ access to justice, says TUC

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The Supreme Court has today (Wednesday) quashed the 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 gaining justice at work.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

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

“Too many low-paid workers couldn’t afford to uphold their rights at work, even when they’ve faced harassment or have been sacked unfairly.

“Tribunal fees have been a bonanza for bad bosses, giving them free rein to mistreat staff. Any fees paid so far should be refunded as soon as possible.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

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

Tribunal fees were introduced in July 2013, and can run up to £1,200 per case. The most common reasons for employment tribunal cases include unfair dismissal, holiday pay, and sex discrimination.

Official statistics show that the number of cases taken by workers has dropped by nearly 70% since the fees were introduced. TUC research shows 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.

- The TUC compared official figures from before and after the introduction of fees to see which types of claims had seen the greatest decrease:

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...
- All TUC press releases can be found at tuc.org.uk/media
- TUC Press Office on Twitter: @tucnews
 

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