Labour leadership front-runner Andy Burnham has called for the upfront fees paid by workers to escalate employment tribunals to be scrapped after criticising the four-figure charges introduced by the coalition government in 2013.
The fees aimed to reduce the number of frivolous claims; however, the result has been a significant downturn in the number of overall claims at employment tribunals as less equal pay, employment status and sex-discrimination cases are made.
There were 340,000 claims made at employment tribunals between May and July in 2013; however, this figure has since plummeted to just 110,000 for the third quarter of the 2014/15 financial year.
Shadow home secretary, Mr Burnham will say this week: “David Cameron is presiding over a damaging casualisation of the British workforce.
“Record numbers are on zero hours contracts, unsure whether they will get enough hours to make ends meet. Now, to add insult to injury, workers with genuine grievances are denied access to justice because of their ability to pay.”
He will also argue that making a claim should be a “basic human right” that is accessible without pay to the scores of contractors and permanent employees across the country.
The current fees include £160 to start a claim and a further fee up to £1,200 for a basic tribunal hearing while workers claiming for discrimination or unfair dismissal pay £250 upfront and an additional £950 to get a hearing.
It follows criticism by Vince Cable earlier this year, who admitted that evidence indicated that the fees were a “very bad move” and should be abolished due to the negative impact on workers’ rights.