Unfair dismissal tribunals – leave workers ”without rights”

Government plans to extend the qualifying period against unfair dismissal from one year to two will affect nearly three million vulnerable workers, warns the TUC.

Government plans to extend the qualifying period for protection against unfair dismissal from one year to two will affect nearly three million vulnerable workers, warns the TUC.
The warning came in the TUC’s submission to the Government’s review of the employment tribunal system.
The review has been mounted in a bid to cut down on time-wasting claims and to give employers the confidence to hire more staff.
But while the TUC says more needs to be done to speed up tribunal claims, it claims the Government is seeking to do this by restricting access to justice and pricing low-paid vulnerable workers out of the system.
It also opposes plans to introduce fees for those wishing to take their employers to employment tribunals and claims it will have a disproportionate impact on low-paid workers.
Nearly 70% of tribunal claimants have average or below average earnings, and more than a third (35%) earn less than £15,000, according to the Survey of Employment Tribunal Applicants in 2008.
Female part-time workers, young people and ethnic minorities will be most affected by plans to remove unfair dismissal rights from staff with less than two years service, claims the TUC’s submission.
Half a million female part-time workers will lose out if the extension from one year to two years goes ahead, it warns.
Nearly one third (32.4%) of part-time employees have less than two years service, compared to 22% of full-time employees.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: ”While everyone wants to see a quicker and more efficient tribunal system, taking away people’s rights and pricing vulnerable workers out of the system is the worst possible way to achieve this.
”The proposals to restrict protection against unfair dismissal will not only hit young people and female part-time employees the hardest, but will also open the door to more discrimination claims, creating confusion for staff and employers alike.
”There is no credible evidence to show that restricting access to justice actually helps our economy and it’s disappointing that ministers seem so keen to boost bad employment practices.
”If the Government is serious about improving the tribunal system, it should concentrate much more on encouraging disputes to be resolved before they get to court.”
The TUC says cases can be speeded up by giving more resources to the tribunal system, improving the enforcement of multiple pay claims and extending Acas’ pre-claim conciliation service.



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