RELEASE DATE: 16 September 2014
Warnings that Government changes to the tribunal system were a charter for bad employers have come shockingly true, says a media union.
The IOJ, the trade union arm of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, is responding to a report issued (Sept 11) by the Ministry of Justice, showing that the number of applications to employment tribunals has fallen by 70% in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year.
“This coincides directly with the introduction of fees for tribunal claimants, a move which we robustly opposed in a consultation with the Government last year,” said Amanda Brodie, chairman of the Institute’s Professional Practices Board.
“We warned that charging would have the effect of putting off genuine claimants, and of introducing a justice system which would be used only by those who can afford to pay, and sadly we have been proved right.”
She said: “The Government predicted a fall-off of between 25-40 per cent in tribunal applications but it has come out at nearly twice that figure. No doubt many employers will see this as good news but the truth is, it shows that too many people are being denied access to justice because they simply cannot risk losing out financially.
“At the time we told the Ministry of Justice: ‘The system is already heavily weighted in favour of employers, who often have considerable resources to employ expensive lawyers to fight their cause, while the complainant is either unrepresented, or relying on support from a trade union or similar body. The funds available for legal representation from such bodies are limited.’
“The Government claimed the new charges would help to weed-out vexatious claims. At the Institute of Journalists we have many years experience in representing our members at employment tribunals. In our experience it is highly unusual for anyone to put themselves through the stress and potential costs of taking an employer to tribunal, unless they feel they have a genuine grievance. “
Note to editors:
“In employment tribunals, the number of single claims received in April to June 2014 was 3,792 – 70% fewer than in the same period of 2013, and a third lower than last quarter.” Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/352914/tribunal-statistics-quarterly-april-june-2014.pdf