11 September 2014
The Ministry of Justice has this morning released quarterly tribunal statistics (Apr – Jun 2014) revealing a 71% drop in Employment Tribunal claims, compared to the same period in 2013.
This is the third quarter in a row where the number of claims has dropped.
These statistics reflect the reluctancy of workers to take their grievances to court after the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees in July 2013. The fees of up to £1,200 are unfeasible for many, at a time where the cost of living is rocketing and wages are stagnant.
Speaking on ET fees, Frances O’Grady said, “Tribunal fees are part of a wider campaign to get rid of workers’ basic rights. The consequence has been to price low-paid and vulnerable people out of justice”.
Single claims are down by one third on the last quarter (Jan – Mar 2013), after the Acas’ Early Conciliatory scheme (EC) was launched on April 6.
Acas data showed that 17,145 employees used EC during the first three months of its existence. Around 1000 people per week contacted the service in April 2014, rising to around 1,600 in May and June, after it became mandatory for anyone considering an ET claim to notify Acas.
Only 7% of workers rejected the option to try to resolve a dispute with their employer rather than face tribunal fees, Acas’ data revealed.
In a speech to TUC congress 2014, Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Ummuna said the current Employment Tribunal system is “unfair, unsustainable and has resulted in prohibitive costs locking people out of the justice they are entitled to”.
“So if we are elected the next Labour Government will abolish the current system, reform the employment tribunals and put in place a new system which ensures all workers have proper access to justice”, he said.
The IER is hosting Employment Update conferences, including on the new Employment Tribunal and EC processes, in London (7/10) and Liverpool (22/10). Click here for more information, and to book your place online.