UNISON’s battle on tribunal fees to continue

UNISON welcomed the recent 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.

Three years ago the government introduced these fees, immediately making it much harder for employees – especially those on low incomes – to challenge employers who break the law. Unsurprisingly, employment tribunal claims have since dropped by 70 per cent.

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.

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’.

UNISON’s challenge against fees has been several years in the making, but the union is determined not to give up the fight. It is delighted the Supreme Court has given permission to continue its legal challenge against these unfair and punitive fees.