UNISON has won a landmark court victory this week against the government, which means that employment tribunal fees will now be scrapped.
The Supreme Court – the UK’s highest court – has unanimously ruled that the government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees four years ago.
From today, anyone who has been treated illegally or unfairly at work will no longer have to pay to take their employers to court – as a direct result of UNISON’s legal challenge.
The government will also have to refund more than £27m to the thousands of people charged for taking claims to tribunals. This is since July 2013, when fees were introduced by Chris Grayling, the then Lord Chancellor.
Anyone in England, Scotland and Wales wanting to pursue a case against their employer has had to find as much as £1,200. This has been a huge expense for many low-paid employees, says UNISON.
UNISON Regional Secretary Maggi Ferncombe said: “UNISON has campaigned against these fees from the beginning and today’s decision confirms UNISON’s belief that the government acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees.
“For almost four years thousands of staff treated unfairly by their employers have been denied access to justice because they couldn’t afford the employment tribunal fees introduced by the government. But no longer – thanks to UNISON’s historic legal victory.
“It’s a major victory for workers everywhere. UNISON took the case on behalf of anyone who’s ever been wronged at work, or who might be in future. We have made justice accessible again, unscrupulous employers no longer have the upper hand.”
The decision marks the end of a four-year fight by UNISON to overturn the government’s introduction of fees.