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UNISON’s battle to scrap tribunal fees continues

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UNISON has welcomed today’s (Friday) Supreme Court decision granting the union permission to continue its legal challenge against employment tribunal fees.

Ever since the government introduced tribunal fees three years ago, the number of claims has plummeted as workers have been forced to find fees of between £160 and £1,200 before they can pursue a case. UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “We’re delighted that the Supreme Court has given us permission to continue our legal fight against these unfair and punitive fees.

“Three years ago the government introduced tribunal fees, immediately making it much harder for employees – especially those on low incomes – to challenge bosses who break the law. Unsurprisingly employment tribunal claims have since dropped by 70 percent. As a result it’s too easy for bad employers to escape justice. Many low-wage workers now have to put up with unfair or discriminatory treatment simply because they cannot afford to take a case.

UNISON’s challenge against fees may have been several years in the making, but we’re determined not to give up the fight. Thousands of low-paid workers will be pinning their hopes on us being successful. Although last August the Court of Appeal rejected UNISON’s appeal, it described the case as ‘troubling’, and expressed a ‘strong suspicion that so large a decline [in claims] is unlikely to be accounted for entirely by cases of ‘won’t pay’ and [that] it must also reflect at least some cases of ‘can’t pay’.

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