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Employment tribunal fees a victory for bad bosses, says union

July 31 2014

An introduction of fees for employment tribunals has been a ‘victory’ for bad employers and has led to a collapse in a number of claims, according to Britain’s trade union body.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has reported that women and low-paid staff are worst hit with an 80 per cent fall in sex discrimination claims and 85 per cent drop in unpaid wage cases after the government brought in fees of up to £1,200 last year.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said that employment tribunal fees have been a huge victory for Britain’s worst bosses.

“By charging up-front fees for harassment and abuse claims the government has made it easier for bad employers to get away with the most appalling behaviour,” she 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.”

Justice minister Shailesh Vara said it is in everyone’s interest to avoid drawn out disputes which emotionally damage workers and financially damage businesses.

“That’s why we are encouraging quicker, simpler and free alternatives such as the early conciliation service provided by [conciliation service] Acas,” said Mr Vara.

“It is not fair for the taxpayer to foot the entire £74m bill for people to escalate workplace disputes to a tribunal, and it is not unreasonable to expect people who can afford to do so to make a contribution.

“For those who cannot afford to pay, full fee waivers are available.”

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