Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/25915

Posted on 31 July 2017 at 16:54 GMT

Government's tribunal fees defeat should give trade unions confidence to fight

The Tory-Lib Dem coalition government introduced employment tribunal fees starting in 2013, photo (public domain)

The Tory-Lib Dem coalition government introduced employment tribunal fees starting in 2013, photo (public domain)   (Click to enlarge)

Vicky Perrin, Unison national executive member (personal capacity)

Unison's successful Supreme Court challenge to the government's tribunal fees policy on 26 July is an important victory for workers and the trade union movement.

It abolishes the up-front fee of up to 1,200 that, since 2013, workers have faced before they can seek to enforce their employment rights in court. And it forces the government to repay the more than 27 million paid out by workers in fees over the last four years.

The Tories' own figures show a 67% fall in the number of employment tribunal cases since the imposition of these fees, and the amount of discrimination cases being heard has suffered the most dramatic fall - 83% fewer workers have challenged cases of discrimination in court since fees were imposed.

No longer will bullying employers be able to exploit the cost barrier to workers seeking justice, to delay negotiating claims of failing to implement employment rights. Having been emboldened by the cost to low paid workers of seeking justice, employers now once again know that they face the threat of litigation for riding roughshod over workers' rights.

While this is a crucial victory which must give confidence to the trade union movement, and we defend every legal gain, we know only too well that employment law is not weighted in favour of workers. As with everything, prevention is better than cure.

Solid workplace organisation and a confident fighting lead in response to employers breaking the rules, or when disputes break out, are the best deliverers of justice for us. No law has prevented the slaughtering of 600,000 local government jobs or seven years of a pay freeze meaning our wages have fallen by 20% in real terms over that period. Those battles will be fought and won on the picket lines not in the courts.

The TUC, which has been disgracefully timid until now, standing by passively while the anti-trade union laws, including the Trade Union Act, were driven through, now needs to harness the boldness and determination of the disputes being fought in hospitals and schools up and down the country and across the private sector, into a sustained coordinated fightback against austerity.

Endemic low pay and the most precarious employment market rife with zero-hour contracts and relentless attempts to massacre hard won terms and conditions mean that workers' resolve and courage are hardening as they are left with no option but to fight.

Unison has the resources and potential weight in the trade union movement to fight and win important battles like this in court, not only for its members but for workers everywhere. But it could and must also use its weight in the TUC to lead the charge for the coordinated resistance that could bring this hated and beleaguered government, with unlawful legislation, down to its knees.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 31 July 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Trade union:

triangleWorkers' anger increases after Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleConference on state spies and sabotage: who's watching who?

trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

triangleTories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

trianglePCS ballots members to send message to government: scrap the pay cap

Union:

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

triangleStriking back against the sackers' charter at Leeds University

triangleSchools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Government:

triangleCampaign against political repression in Hong Kong

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

Fees:

triangleWhat we saw

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

Workers:

triangleOctober 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

Unison:

triangleThe fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

TUC:

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

Discrimination:

triangleRefreshing, anticapitalist - but little pointing a way forward

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

18/10/17

What we saw

What we saw

18/10/17

Food

Obesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

18/10/17

NHS

Tories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

18/10/17

Debt

Young people being strangled by debts

18/10/17

Brexit

Tories torn - bin them now

13/10/17

Labour

The end of the Tories?

11/10/17

Tories

Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

11/10/17

Black history

The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

11/10/17

Housing

Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

11/10/17

Universal Credit

Major attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty

11/10/17

Them & Us

Them & Us

11/10/17

NHS

NHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

11/10/17

IMF

IMF helps cause inequality it slams

4/10/17

NHS

Tories wreck our NHS

4/10/17

Workers

Monarch abdicates responsibility to workers

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

triangle18 Oct Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2