Employment tribunal fees are proposed to be scrapped, said Chuka Harrison Umunna, the Labour Party politician who is also the Shadow Business Secretary, attendees at the Trade Union Congress were told fees would be scrapped should Labour be elected next year in the May 2015 elections.
He described the current employment tribunal process as unfair as well as unstainable, whereby a future Labour government would reorganise the employment tribunal system so that all employees had a proper access to justice.
Employment tribunal claims have decreased by forty five per cent since the new fee regime, of £250.00 to make a claim and £950.00 for an employment tribunal hearing, were introduced last year by the current government.
Whereby those who could not afford to pay the fees are now not making claims against employers where they should be entitled to, in effect barring them from the justice that they deserve.
Umunna says workplace justice should not be down to whether you can afford the fees, although it would be a tremendous mistake to return to the old system which was slow and justice of any meaning was unavailable.
The law firm Irwin Mitchell, solicitor and partner Chris Tuttom commented the proposed reforms are welcomed, however responsibility should not be placed directly on employers, the system needs to be reviewed on a regular basis to make sure its effective and efficiently working both from the point of view of an employer and employee.
Of course a balance has to be struck between ensuring access to justice as well as to prevent claims which should not have been brought before the tribunal in the first place, he felt it would be beneficial and advantageous to have a consultation exercise into the current system, following the change of fees and the introduction of compulsory early conciliation.
The director for employment and skills policy at the CBI, Neil Carberry, advised strongly against the fee removal, as he felt that could be a step in the wrong direction.
For several years organisations and employers have been frustrated by extensive delays, false, misleading, vexatious claims, which usurp the manpower, time, finances and resources of a business.
It will of course be very interesting to see what does transpire, how the current system is reformed and how that will improve the system as we presently know it, surely with workplace and employment disputes on the rise, more should be done to promote workplace mediation and the use of employment mediation services.
An effective workplace, employment mediator would not cost anywhere near the £950.00 it costs for an employment tribunal hearing, and could have the matter resolved within a day.
For further information about our employment mediation services click here.