79% fall in number of employment tribunal claims in 4th QR 2013 is due to new fees to workers who cannot afford them says GMB
Charging £250 to issue a claim and between £960 and £1,060 for a hearing has priced workers out of tribunals since 29th July last year says GMB.
GMB responded to new figures showing that for employment tribunals the number of claims received in October to December 2013 was 9,801 – 79% fewer than in the same period of 2012, and 75% fewer than last quarter. See notes to editors for extract of official reports, links to reports and statement by Justice Minister Shailesh Vara.
Maria Ludkin, GMB National Corporate Affairs and Legal Officer said, “These figures confirm our fears that government changes to time limits and introduction of fees has had devastating impact on access to justice for working people.
To suggest a 79% reduction is part of a long term declining trend is frankly laughable.
Charging £250 to issue a claim and between £960 and £1,060 for a hearing has priced workers out of tribunals since 29th July last year. We predicted that this would happen but it fell on deaf ears in a government made up of the multimillionaire elite.”
Contact: Maria Ludkin 07956 632 657 or GMB press office at 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823
Notes to editors
1 extract from report on Employment Tribunals (Table 1.2)
Claims in employment tribunals can be classified into either single3 or multiple4 claims. See footnotes.
Single claims are made by a sole employee/worker, relating to alleged breaches of employment rights. Multiple claims are where two or more people bring proceedings arising out of the same facts, usually against a common employer. Both single and multiple claims can involve one or more jurisdictional complaints. Where claims are grouped as multiples, they are processed administratively and managed judicially together. We call these groups of claims ‘multiple claims cases’.
A claim (either single or multiple) can be brought under one or more of different jurisdictions, for example under Age Discrimination or Equal Pay. Therefore the number of jurisdictional complaints is always greater than the total tribunal claims accepted. On average in October to December 2013, there were 2.5 jurisdictional complaints per receipt, higher than previous quarters.
To illustrate these differences please see the case studies in the Guide to Court and Administrative Justice Statistics.
In employment tribunals, the number of claims received in October to December 2013 was 9,801 – 79% fewer than in the same period of 2012, and 75% fewer than last quarter.
The trend in single claims has been declining for the last five years, while the trend in multiple claims is more volatile due to large numbers of claims against a single employer which can skew the national figures and have to be resubmitted each quarter.
The number of multiple claims cases has been falling over the last few quarters, from around 1,500 in October to December 2012 to around 500 in October to December 2013. This indicates that the volatility in multiple claims is due to the number of people within each claim not the number of cases.
2 See the link to the statistics: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tribunal-statistics-quarterly-october-to-december-2013
Government statement in relation to employment tribunal fees is:
Justice Minister Shailesh Vara said:
"It is in everyone's interest to avoid drawn out disputes which emotionally damage workers and financially damage businesses. That's why we are encouraging quicker, simpler and cheaper alternatives like mediation and arbitration.
"It is not fair for the taxpayer to foot the entire £74m bill for people to escalate workplace disputes to a tribunal. And it is not unreasonable to expect people who can afford to do so, to make a contribution. As for those who cannot afford to pay, fee waivers are available."
“ we think that the fees are not the only reason for the fall in the number of employment tribunal "receipts", there has been a longer term downward trend as the economy has strengthened, and some of the big group action cases involving airlines are now being concluded (meaning that the 15,000 odd claims are no longer being resubmitted every three months).
Also, BIS is carrying out wider work around Employment Law which relates to this (this info is from them):
* The Government is conducting a Parliament long review of employment laws which is reviewing burdens on business, whilst not undermining protections for employees.
* We have reformed the employment tribunal system over the last few years as it had become not only too far weighted in the favour of employees and a burden on the taxpayer.
* Our changes include introducing Early Conciliation, which will be available from 6 April. The central objective of Early Conciliation is to help employers and employees resolve their disputes through the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) to avoid the cost and stress of an Employment Tribunal (ET) claim. From 6 April anyone considering lodging a claim with an ET must contact Acas before they can submit their ET claim. If both parties agree, Acas will attempt to resolve the dispute for free to see if a tribunal can be avoided.
* We want all parties actively to consider conciliation and make sure as many disputes as possible are resolved through conciliation rather than ending up in court.
* Even where conciliation is refused, Acas can provide claimants with information about how the tribunal system works - helping them to make a more informed decision about whether to proceed to Tribunal.
3 A claim may be brought under more than one jurisdiction or subsequently amended or clarified in the course of proceedings, but will be counted as a claim only once.
4 Multiple cases are where two or more people bring claims, involving one or more jurisdiction(s) usually against a single employer but not necessarily so, for instance in Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) cases, and always arising out of the same or very similar circumstances. As a multiple, the cases are processed together.