Protests will be held today as new fees come into force for workers taking an employment tribunal case. Unions have predicted "chaos" as employees will have to pay up to £1,200 to have cases of unfair dismissal and discrimination heard.
Fees of up to £1,200 for workers to launch a tribunal claim against their employers will undermine justice in the workplace, the Citizens Advice service has warned.
Its chief executive Gillian Guy said: “This is another threat to the principle of universal access to justice. Employees are from today going to be faced with a double injustice.
“Citizens Advice is now concerned that people have no way to tackle unfair employers; the combined impact of the removal of legal aid and charges for tribunals leaving victims without reasonable options", she added.
The Federation of Small Businesses supports the introduction of employment tribunal fees.
For some employees, an employment tribunal can be seen as a ‘no cost' option.
The FSB hopes the introduction of fees will curb the number of speculative claims, help reduce the perceived risk of taking on staff and provide a fairer balance both for small business employers and employees.
– John Allan, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses
Justice minister Helen Grant told the Today programme that tribunal fees could be "looked at again" if they proved unjust or unfair.
It's important to remember too that these are new fees we have committed that we will monitor the impact very, very carefully on women and other individuals with protected characteristics to ensure that justice and fairness is done.
And if it is not done of course we will look at it again.
A new ruling in force from today means that workers will have to pay up to £1,200 to launch a tribunal claim against their employers.
A protest against the ruling, organised by the GMB trade union, will be held outside an employment hearing in Central London today.
Unite leader Len McCluskey described the ruling as taking “a sledgehammer to workers’ rights”.
Supporters of the ruling say that along with a "remission scheme" for those on a low income, it will help stem running costs of the employment tribunal system, which came in at more than £74.4 million last year, at a cost to the taxpayer.