the TUC Congress on 8 September 2014, Chuka Umunna MP, Secretary of State for
Business, Innovation and Skills told his audience that “affordability should
not be a barrier to workplace justice” and that 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.”
He went on to
advise that if the Labour Government win the next election, they “will abolish
the current system, reform the employment tribunals and put in place a new
system which ensures all workers have proper access to justice”.
of Justice released their quarterly statistics yesterday which revealed a 71%
drop in claims (70% in single claims) in the employment tribunal for the period
of April to June 2014 compared with last year’s figures. In comparison to the
first three months of 2014, single claims are again down by one third which is
probably due to the introduction of the compulsory ACAS Early Conciliation on 6
introduction of fees to the employment tribunal system in July 2013, thousands
of employees have been priced out of achieving justice. In relation to ACAS
Early Conciliation, many employers and employees are not getting the benefit of
a full month of conciliation because of the volume of work at ACAS. It is also
extremely difficult for parties to tell when the ACAS Early Conciliation time
limits expire. Criticism has also been made that the information provided at
the early conciliation stage is too vague to be meaningful.
It is clear
that something needs to be done but it is likely that we will have to wait
until after the next general election until changes are put in place.