Justin Madders

Working Hard for Ellesmere Port & Neston

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MP calls for Employment Tribunal Fees to be scrapped in Parliamentary debate

Ellesmere Port & Neston MP, Justin Madders called for Employment Tribunal Fees to be scrapped, after securing a debate in Parliament to discuss the impact of the controversial policy since it was introduced in July 2013.

Ellesmere Port & Neston MP, Justin Madders called for Employment Tribunal Fees to be scrapped, after securing a debate in Parliament to discuss the impact of the controversial policy since it was introduced in July 2013.

The scheme means that proceeding to a full hearing for a simple case (e.g. refusal to allow time off) now attracts a fee of £390. For a more complex matter (e.g. unfair dismissal) fees are £1,200.

Justin drew attention to the fact that between October 2013 and September 2014, there were 32,671 fewer single claim cases (brought by individuals) compared to the previous 12 months - a decrease of 64 per cent.

He argued that the fees prevent people from being able to access justice, as in many cases they would not be able to afford to uphold their employment rights. He also mentioned that in many cases, the level of the fee is higher than the amount that the individual is seeking to claim.

A number of Labour MPs contributed to the debate, along with two MPs from the Scottish National Party. The Minister, Shailesh Vara MP responding was the only Conservative MP in attendance.

While there is currently an ongoing Government review into the scheme, the Minister refused to answer on four occasions when asked whether removing the fees entirely was a possible outcome.

Speaking after the debate, Justin said:

“The fact that the only Conservative MP who bothered to speak in the debate and defend this disgusting policy was the Minister himself which suggests to me there aren’t many in the Conservative ranks who are prepared defend the indefensible.

What was doubly disappointing was that despite being asked four times, the Minister refused to confirm that one possible outcome of the Government’s review of Tribunal fees was that they could be scrapped altogether. In light of the overwhelming evidence submitted by advice agencies, trade unions and others about the significant drop in tribunal claims since fees were introduced and the denial of justice to thousands that this means makes the retention of tribunal fees unsupportable.

Unfortunately this Government is showing scant regard to supporting people in work and failing to ensure that hard won employment rights are protected. They are leading the charge to a race to the bottom and fostering a hire and fire culture.”

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