Friday, February 26, 2016

Employment Tribunal Fees - the saga continues

UNISON has been granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against our defeat on employment tribunal fees in the Court of Appeal.

With mounting evidence of the way in which tribunal fees are denying workers justice it will be interesting to see if the Supreme Court can align what is lawful with what is right.

I've been advising a member who was unjustly suspended without pay. Whether there is a remedy in such circumstances depends first of all on the contract of employment.

However, even if a worker has a clear contractual right to pay which has (therefore unlawfully) been withheld, they face tribunal fees (which they may not get back even if they win) which may exceed the sum in dispute.

For low paid workers living on the margins this is a particularly cruel denial of justice from a Government composed significantly of millionaires.

The Employment Judge for London South addressed the recent meeting of the Greater London Employment Forum (the joint meeting between London local authorities and the recognised trade unions at London level).

Although "Chatham House rules" prevent me quoting any detail of the discussion, nothing that we heard was inconsistent with the published evidence of an acceleration in the declining number of tribunal complaints since the imposition of fees.

Just as the Trade Union Bill seeks to restrain our ability to take collective action, so the imposition of tribunal fees seeks to close of an avenue for the remedy of individual injustices.

Will the Supreme Court do anything about this?

Update on 27 February 2016

This story is now on the UNISON website.

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