A Labour government would scrap fees for employment tribunal cases.
This is according to shadow business secretary Chuka Ummuna, who told the TUC Congress that the fee regime is “unfair”.
The Labour politician said: “The current employment tribunal system is unfair, unsustainable, and has resulted in prohibitive costs. Affordability should not be a barrier to workplace justice, but it would be a mistake to simply return to the system of the past, where tribunals were so slow that meaningful justice was not available.”
According to new figures from the Ministry of Justice the number of cases brought to tribunal has dropped by 71 per cent since the introduction of fees, which can reach up to £950 for a hearing and £250 to issue a claim.
The TUC’s own research suggests that women and the lowest paid have been disproportionately affected by the changes.
But the fees have enjoyed widespread support from business groups, many of which insist that they are a sensible measure that helps to weed out vexatious or spurious claims.
CBI director for employment and skills policy Neil Carberry said: “Recent reforms which encourage early resolution of disputes are a step in the right direction, and fees to make a claim are a vital part of that. Fees should not remove access to justice for those with legitimate claims, so a review of the level set is something businesses could support.”