People are being put off holding unfair employers to account by too high fees and a lack of awareness about support, Citizens Advice has found.
The report, “Fairer fees: fixing the employment tribunal system” found:
- more than 4 in 5 (82%) said the current fee prices would make them less likely to claim or deter them from claiming altogether
- the income of people with employment troubles highlighted the problems with the level of fees
- over 4 in 10 (43%) had a household income of less than £46 a week after essential bills
- only 3 in 10 (30%) were aware of elegible financial support for those on low incomes
- over half (53%) didn’t know what they could get out of making a claim and therefore whether it was financially worth their while
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said, “Fees are pricing people out of basic workplace rights and a justice system that is supposed to protect them. Many claims go unheard as people simply can’t afford to pursue them and if they do, employers still won’t pay up. Claims are often for amounts below the fees so this leaves some having to concede claims.”
GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire regional secretary, Tim Roache, commented, “Sometimes problems at work require legal action which is why GMB members will receive support with our legal department providing expert employment law advice and where necessary, representation at employment tribunals. Fees are not a barrier for GMB members as they will be dealt with through the Regional Fee Assistance Scheme. 100% of any compensation goes to our members as nothing is deducted unlike some so called “no win, no fee” schemes. Yet another benefit of GMB trade union membership.
The same applies to personal injury claims, or any other non-work legal problems, through GMB’s own Unionline set up in May 2014 which can be contacted on 0300 333 0303. For those GMB members working in occupations that may make them vulnerable to false allegations such as school support staff or care home workers, there is the 24 hour criminal law helpline on 07908 676445.”