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Joint statement against employment tribunal fees

As organisations that advocate for workers’ ability to enforce their rights, we strongly oppose the government’s plans to impose fees on people who afile an employment tribunal claim.

Following a landmark victory by trade union UNISON, the previous employment fees regime was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court due to its restriction on access to justice and discriminatory impact.

It appears the government is intent on repeating the mistakes of the past.

We believe reintroducing tribunal fees would block many from lodging worthy claims and give a green light to bad employers to exploit their workers.

There are already considerable barriers to those seeking justice at work:

  • An under-resourced employment tribunal system leading to significant delays in cases being heard.
  • An under-funded labour market enforcement system that doesn’t have enough inspectors to proactively enforce employment rights.
  • Lack of awareness of key employment rights.
  • A complicated process for bringing a claim.
  • Difficulty in accessing legal support.
  • Strict time limits on filing claims.

Workers seeking recovery of wage theft, unpaid redundancy pay and compensation for unfair dismissal are to be asked to stump up extra money at an incredibly tough moment in their lives. Fee exemption procedures are complex and difficult to understand for many, especially within the three months' time limit for most claims.

It is also being levied at a time when rising inflation and subdued wages are putting pressure on family budgets. Access to justice must never be contingent on your ability to pay.

Meanwhile bad employers are being given the go-ahead to undercut good ones, safe in the knowledge they are less likely to face claims in the employment tribunal.

Employment rights are only real if they are enforced. Tribunal fees risk pricing many workers out of workplace justice, especially workers at greater risk of employment law violations such as pregnant workers, disabled workers and migrant workers.

We urge the government to reconsider its plans.

Signatories

  1. Trades Union Congress
  2. Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX)
  3. Maternity Action
  4. Pregnant Then Screwed 
  5. Young Women’s Trust (Clairee Reindorp, CEO)
  6. Liberty
  7. Mother Pukka, Anna Whitehouse
  8. Inclusion London
  9. BARAC UK 
  10. Citizens Advice
  11. Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit (ATLEU)
  12. The William Gomes Podcast 
  13. After Exploitation
  14. Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS)
  15. forRefugees
  16. Migrant Voice
  17. Kalayaan
  18. Work Rights Centre
  19. Southeast and East Asian Centre (SEEAC)
  20. Kanlungan Filipino Consortium
  21. Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) 
  22. Community Policy Forum
  23. Right to Remain
  24. Advice Services Alliance
  25. Anti-Slavery International
  26. Migrants’ Rights Network
  27. Disability Rights UK
  28. Legal Action Group
  29. Protect
  30. Fawcett Society
  31. Your Employment Settlement Service
  32. Just Fair
  33. Labour Behind the Label
  34. Legal Aid Practitioners Group
  35. Highfields Centre 
  36. War on Want
  37. The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI)
  38. Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group (ATMG)
  39. Equally Ours
  40. Snowdrop Project
  41. Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers 
  42. Roma Support Group
  43. No Sweat
  44. Free Representation Unit
  45. Hope for Justice
  46. Greater Manchester Law Centre
  47. Joseph Rowntree Foundation

 

Original article link: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/joint-statement-against-employment-tribunal-fees

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