PRICING JUSTICE OUT OF REACH

31 July 2014

On 29 July 2013 the Tory Libdem government introduced a scheme for fees for employees taking a case to an employment tribunal. Actually, two fees, one for lodging the claim and a second for a hearing of the claim. For claims about unpaid wages, for example, the fees amount to £390 and for claims about unfair dismissal or discrimination £1200.
We now have the figures for claims made in the first full quarter of the new arrangements, October to December 2013. Compared with the same quarter in the previous year there has been a 79 percent decrease in claims made.

The reason for the decrease is simple. The fees are deterring people from making claims. Perhaps that was the Tory Libdem idea all along.

The consequence of the Tory Libdem policy appear to be that people are denied redress and access to justice. The Citizens Advice Bureau has said that “employers are getting away with unlawful sackings and withholding wages” (Guardian 27 July 2014).

In the southwest – there are no figures for counties and cities – the number of claims in the October-December quarter fell from 1345 in 2012 to 479 in 2013, about two thirds.

Yes, the fees scheme is still new but the present data is damning and the current fees arrangements appear to be preventing workers from pursuing reasonable claims for justice, an illiberal outcome. The balance between worker and employer, important for a productive relationship, is being shifted in favour of employers.

The statistics of claims to employment tribunals are here. Annex C has the regional figures.


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