In a press release issued on Monday, the TUC highlighted its concerns, asserting that such fees would place a significant obstacle in the path of workers seeking justice for issues like discrimination, unfair dismissal, or withheld wages.

The union body expressed apprehension that the proposed fees would favour “bad bosses” and empower them to disregard the rights of their staff.

The Supreme Court had invalidated a previous tribunal fees regime in 2017, citing its adverse impact on access to justice.

Despite this, the government appears determined to revisit the issue, prompting criticism from the TUC.

TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak condemned the government’s stance, stating, “This is another example of ministers taking the side of bad bosses, not working people.” Nowak emphasised that the government’s proposal would exacerbate the challenges faced by workers seeking justice and underscored the importance of protecting the rights of those facing discrimination or unfair treatment.

Additional barriers

Nowak cited the recent high-profile case involving P&O Ferries, where the company’s abrupt dismissal of 800 workers prompted minimal government action. He argued that introducing fees for employment tribunals would create additional barriers for individuals seeking justice during their most vulnerable moments.

“The Tories have already tried this and failed,” Nowak pointed out, referencing a previous attempt to introduce tribunal fees that resulted in a significant drop in claims. The Supreme Court had intervened, deeming the fees an interference with access to justice.

“Working people shouldn’t be picking up the bill for exploitative employers’ poor behaviour. Employment tribunal fees are just an invitation for bad bosses to ride roughshod over workers,” Nowak added.

The TUC’s strong opposition to the government’s consultation signals a potential showdown between workers’ rights advocates and the authorities, with the outcome likely to shape the landscape of employment tribunals in the coming months.

 

 

 

 

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Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.