I’ve questioned the Government over the possible re-introduction of employment tribunal fees.
In 2013, the Tory-Lib Dem coalition introduced employment tribunal fees of up to £1,200, which made it much more difficult for workers to get justice when faced with problems at work. In the three years following the introduction of fees, employment tribunal cases fell by 79% as the disproportionally high charges rendered any financial pay-out pointless.
However, late last year, a permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice suggested that fees could be reintroduced in a different form. I raised this with the Justice Minister recently in Parliament and, as you can see in the above video, his response was evasive.
Before becoming an MP, I served as a shop steward for the Unite union and have continued to work closely with trade unions ever since. I understand how important workers’ rights are in keeping people safe from harm, discrimination, and bullying at work. But when tribunal fees stop workers defending their rights, those rights may as well not exist.
The Government’s support for tribunal fees demonstrates, yet again, that we can ever trust the Tories with workers’ rights.
In contrast, Labour opposes employment tribunal fees in their entirety. In Government, we’ll also extend the time period for applying for maternity discrimination to the employment tribunal from three to six months.
I’ll continue to press the Government on this issue, will oppose the re-introduction of fees, and do whatever I can to protect the rights of workers.