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The Supreme Court has granted UNISON permission to continue its legal challenge against employment tribunal fees.
The government introduced tribunal fees three years ago, meaning workers have to pay fees of between £160 and £1,200 before they can pursue a case. Since then, the number of claims has fallen significantly, particularly for those involving sex discrimination.
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 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.
“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.”
The fee system was introduced as claims can cost employers several thousand pounds and an average of 19 working days for each individual case. A CIPD report last year showed the majority of employers [38%] thought fees should stay as they are, while 36% wanted to see them reduced or abolished altogether and 27% were undecided on what should be done.