David Renton, campaigning lawyer and author of Struck Out: Why Employment Tribunals Fail Workers and What Can be Done, writes about the profound changes taking place in Employment Law which will weaken workers rights:
“This year, the coalition government is launching the most dramatic changes to employment law since unfair dismissal was introduced in 1971. The coalition’s reforms have already included from this April reducing the amount of time employers need to consult on collective redundancies, removing of legal aid for all employment cases except discrimination and trafficking, and adding new requirements for whistleblowing claims. Further reforms are planned, including capping the amount an employee can be awarded for lost earnings in an unfair dismissal case at one year’s salary (or the national average if they earn more than that), changes to dismissal procedures to disable a tribunal from enquiring about certain conversations between employer and employee in the run-up to dismissal, a new set of employment tribunal rules and – most controversially – the plan to charge workers fees to have their case heard by an employment tribunal, which will come into effect this summer.
Were any of these changes necessary? My book Struck Out considers the ‘old’ tribunal system from a perspective of industrial justice, addressing Claimants’ success rates at full hearings (surprisingly high) and their awards following success (unjustifiably low). It explains the problems of litigation in terms of over-complication of the law, unpredictability of outcome, and injustice of compensation. It shows how these problems originated in the policy decisions of the Donovan Commission, and in an incomplete break after 1971 from the contractual reliance of the common law. It shows, in effect, that a fair Tribunal system would require something like the exact opposite reform project to the one which the government is now implementing.”
For further action and advice visit:
- Campaign for Trade Union Freedom
- Trade Union Congress
- Free Employment Unit (free legal advice in employment law)
Why Employment Tribunals Fail Workers and What Can be Done
Shows why we can’t rely on the employment tribunal system to deliver fairness and highlights the changes required to protect workers’ rights.
“How can employers and the government argue that employment rights are a burden on business at the same time as so many workplace injustices go unremedied? In the context of a debate over employment law reform that is in danger of being overwhelmed by rhetoric and misinformation, this book will be essential reading for its empirically grounded and dispassionate analysis of what has gone wrong and how it might be put right.” – Simon Deakin, Professor of Law at the University of Cambridge
“‘Employment law in this country isn’t written for working people’ – I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard that at union meetings. But when you’re the person victimised at work, then we all hope Employment Tribunals will deliver us justice. With this excellent step-by-step explanation of how the system works in reality, David Renton explains why it so rarely does. Blacklisted workers have experienced the process first-hand and know this book is true.” – Dave Smith, Blacklist Support Group