Saturday, 4 February 2017
Scrap These Unfair Fees
The great and coming man, Richard Burgon, writes:
This week the Tory Government finally published its long-delayed review of their Employment Tribunal fees.
The review was sneaked out late on Wednesday afternoon whilst Parliament was debating Brexit, to avoid damaging publicity.
It came as no surprise to me that Justice Secretary Truss failed to do the right thing and is stubbornly sticking to Employment Tribunal fees.
Whatever Tory Ministers might say, the reality is that the Employment Tribunal Fees which the Tories introduced in 2013 with the help of their Liberal Democrat stooges were all about weakening workers’ rights and protecting unscrupulous bosses.
After they were launched, the number of Employment Tribunal cases plummeted by 70%.
If only unfair and illegal treatment by bosses had reduced at the same rate!
Tory determination to stick with the Employment Tribunal fees is bad news for working people and bad news for good employers who play by the rules.
Unison, Unite, the TUC and the Law Society have all condemned the Government’s failure to scrap their fees.
Unite the Union Leader Len McCluskey is right to say “the government is dealing in alternative facts to claim that both the fall in employment tribunal applications is greater than they anticipated and that people are not losing out”.
Sir Oliver Heald MP, the Tory’s Minister for Courts and Justice, opened up this whitewash of a review by claiming “while it is clear that fees have discouraged people from bringing claims, there is no evidence that they have prevented them from doing so”.
The trouble is, he hasn’t bothered to find out from the people who know.
Only three judges and five organisations contributed to his review.
Last year, even Parliament’s Justice Committee – which is made up of MPs from different parties – agreed the Conservative Government has got it wrong.
They recommended that Employment Tribunal fees should be substantially reduced.
Labour’s policy is clear: a Labour Government would abolish Employment Tribunal Fees.
In the meantime, we’ll be standing shoulder to shoulder with trade unions and working people to demand the Government thinks again, does the right thing and scraps these unfair fees.