London protests planned over new employment tribunal fees

10:06 29 July 2013

Employee will have to pay £1,200 to have cases heard. Picture: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire

Employee will have to pay £1,200 to have cases heard. Picture: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire

Trades unionists will stage a protest outside an employment tribunal in central London today demonstrating against new fees which put up “insurmountable financial hurdles for working people in pursuit of justice”.

Employment lawyers and unions have predicted “chaos” as employees will have to pay up to £1,200 to have cases of unfair dismissal and discrimination heard at employment tribunals.

Unite said it will pay legal fees for its members while the GMB will stage a protest outside an employment tribunal in the capital.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “What we are seeing today is injustice writ large as this worker-bashing Government takes a sledgehammer to workers’ rights - this is a throwback to Victorian times.

“Seeking redress for unfair dismissal and discrimination and other injustices in the workplace is a fundamental human right - but now ministers are putting up insurmountable financial hurdles for working people in pursuit of justice.

“We estimate that this will affect 150,000 workers a year. This is not an aid to economic recovery but a means to keep working people frightened and insecure.”

Andy Prendergast, of the GMB, said: “The imposition of such fees represents the latest in a number of attacks on employment rights by the Government.

“Bad employers are being given the green light to continue exploiting their staff.”

Elizabeth George, a barrister in the employment team at law firm Leigh Day, said: “This sends a very dangerous message to employers who will be less inclined to abide by their legal obligations as the risk of being challenged will be much reduced.

“These fees will disproportionately hit those suffering discrimination because of their age, race, disability and gender, with women returning from maternity leave particularly hard hit as they’ll be judged on their salary when they left rather than their statutory maternity pay.”

Justice minister Helen Grant admitted that tribunal fees could be “looked at again” if they proved unjust or unfair.

But she said she was confident that introducing fees was the correct course of action as those on lower pay or on benefits would not have to pay fees and judges for the first time had the power to order the losers of a case to pay all legal fees.

She told the BBC Today programme: “It’s important to remember too that these are new fees we have committed that we will monitor the impact very, very carefully on women and other individuals with protected characteristics to ensure that justice and fairness is done.

“And if it is not done of course we will look at it again.”

She went on: “We know that drawn out disputes are emotionally damaging to workers, they are financially damaging to business, and I feel as a government we need to be doing everything we possibly can to encourage quick, cheap, simple alternatives like mediation.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London politics news

Monday, May 23, 2016
Mr Cameron and politicians from different political parties are campaigning to remain in the European Union ahead of the referendum on June 23. (Photo by Jack Taylor - Pool/Getty Images)

David Cameron made an early morning trip to a supermarket in Hayes yesterday along with Labour MP Harriet Harman.

Monday, May 16, 2016
Big Ben will stop ticking for months (Picture: Getty)

One of London’s best loved landmarks, Big Ben, is about to fall silent after hundreds of years bringing in the hour at Westminster - and you will be able to watch it not chiming every single second of every day.

Monday, May 16, 2016
Donald Trump and Sadiq Khan don't seem to be friends (Picture: PA Images / London24)

Donald Trump made an ominous-sounding statement as he continued his war of words with London Mayor Sadiq Khan on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today.

Monday, May 16, 2016
Protestors marching on Holloway Prison to demand the prison site is replaced by council housing and community facilities (Picture: Ken Mears)

Jeremy Corbyn joined protesters for a march on Holloway Prison in protest at the government’s housing bill.

Monday, May 16, 2016
Commuters travelling on the District Line during a Tube stirke in 2014 (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Union leaders are calling for urgent talks with new London mayor Sadiq Khan to discuss issues they warn pose the biggest threat to transport services in the capital.

Friday, May 13, 2016
(Photo: Graeme Robertson/Getty Images)

The London Assembly has called for Barnet Council to be stripped of the responsibility of running the EU referendum, following problems at last week’s Mayoral elections that Assembly members deemed a ‘meltdown’ and ‘fiasco’.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Read more
Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport