04 November 2016
New research by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has shown that unfair dismissal claims have slumped by 73% since the introduction of employment tribunal fees.
A similar picture can be seen for sex discrimination claims, which are down by 71%, while race discrimination and disability discrimination cases have fallen by 58% and 54% respectively.
The introduction of the fees, which can be up to £1,200 payable by the claimant, has disincentivised workers from seeking justice when they are treated unfairly in the workplace, the TUC said, calling on the government to make tribunals free at the point of use.
General Secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady, said: ” Now bosses know they can get away with it, discrimination at work can flourish unchecked and people can be sacked without good reason.
“The evidence is there for all to see. These fees – of up to £1,200, even if you’re on the minimum wage – are pricing out thousands each month from pursuing cases.”
Indeed, the TUC’s analysis revealed that the number of claims taken to tribunal has dropped from an average of 16,000 per month in 2012-13, before the introduction of fees, to 7,000 a month in 2015-16.
And it seems the government is aware of the disastrous affects its policies have had, as it was earlier this year accused by the Select Committee for Justice of hiding a report reviewing the impact of fees post-implementation.
The Institute of Employment Rights calls for fees to be abolished and a simplified system to be introduced. We argue that dispute resolution procedures should be agreed through collective bargaining between unions and employers, and where collective agreements are not in place a network of independent labour inspectors should have responsibility to investigate claims, which would then be enforced through specialist labour courts.
This is just one of the 25 proposals we have put forward in our Manifesto for Labour Law published earlier this year and already adopted by the Labour Party as well as supported by 13 trade unions and the TUC.