By Max Clarke
The Government’s Employers’ Charter - in which the employment tribunal system and worker’s rights will be addressed in order to stimulate job creation in the private sector - is the centre of a review by the Trades’ Union Congress (TUC).
Part of the governments’ plans would involve scrapping the no win no fee approach to employment tribunals by imposing a fee for which successful claimants would be reimbursed.
Business groups largely support the move, as the British Chambers of Commerce’s economist, David Frost explains: “we strongly welcome the Government’s move to reform the employment tribunal system. The current system wastes business time and money, and distracts employers from growing their businesses and creating much-needed jobs. In particular, the introduction of a fee for claimants will help to discourage spurious and baseless claims.”
The TUC, however, firmly opposes plans to introduce fees for those wishing to take their employers to employment tribunals, and says that this will have a disproportionate impact on low paid workers.
The Government also plans to extend the qualifying period for protection against unfair dismissal from one year to two which will, say the TUC, negatively affect the rights of nearly three million workers:
Said TUC Chief Brenden Barber: “The proposals to restrict protection against unfair dismissal will not only hit young people and female part-time employees the hardest, but will also open the door to more discrimination claims, creating confusion for staff and employers alike.”
“There is no credible evidence to show that restricting access to justice actually helps our economy and it's disappointing that ministers seem so keen to boost bad employment practices.”
Business organisations again differed in opinion with the TUC, as the CBI’s Director General John Cridland comments: “Extending the qualifying period for unfair dismissal is a positive move that will give employers, especially smaller ones, the flexibility and confidence they need to hire.”