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Unison chief hits out at Employment Tribunal fees

Employment tribunal fees will lead to thousands of people being denied workplace justice, a union chief has claimed.

Bronwyn McKenna, assistant general secretary of Unison, Britain’s largest trade union, thinks the new fees regime makes it impossible with claims to exercise their rights under Employment Law.

Unison is “totally opposed” to the scheme and has applied to the High Court for a judicial review. There will be a hearing later this year to decide the matter.

Ms McKenna said: “Unison believes that the fees regime will make it virtually impossible for people with claims to exercise their rights under employment law.

“The fees charged per claim are likely to be greater than the expected compensation, even if the claims are successful.

“Had the Government conducted a proper assessment it would have discovered that charging high fees was disproportionate to the number of claims brought by individuals and the low compensation often awarded.”

A recent Ministry of Justice study said that a third of claimants had not even received their employment tribunal awards a year after judgment was given.

Ms McKenna added how spurious cases are in the minority but the current system and new tribunal rules are set up to deal with such claims.

She said: “It would have been more sensible to wait to see if the new rules better tackled spurious claims, rather than introducing fees to penalise all claimants with meritorious claims.

“There is a provision for the remission or part-remission of these fees, but this is a convoluted process that depends on tests.”

“The effect of the new scheme is that after the payment of fees for lodging a claim, and lawyers’ fees, the claimant is left with little, if anything, by way of damages.”

“Regardless of the merits of a claim, these fees are likely to deter people with good claims from even bringing their claims, unless they are supported by Unison and unions like us that are committed to paying these fees.”

If you have a dispute with you employer or would like to take a matter to an Employment Tribunal, call the specialist Employment Law team at PM Law on 0114 2965444.

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