The Labour Party announce that if they win the next election they will scrap the current employment tribunal system

Speaking at 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”.

The Ministry 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 May 2014.

Since the 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.

Kayleigh Leonie