Wednesday 26 July 2017

The Supreme Court has outlawed anti-worker Tory tribunal fees

In 2013 the Tory party introduced a truly sickening attack on workers' rights designed to deter from seeking justice when they'd been unfairly treated by their employers, but this attack on workers has been overturned by the Supreme Court.

Chris Grayling

The then-Justice Secretary Chris Grayling* introduced £1,200 fees for employment tribunals as a deliberate economic barrier to the justice system.

This callous Tory attack on the workers' right to seek compensation from bad employers meant that if your boss stole your wages, abused you in the workplace or sacked you for your age, gender, political views, pregnancy, illness, sexual orientation, trade union activities, ethnicity, or your refusal so suck his dick, you'd be assumed to be guilty of inventing the accusations and hit with a £1,200 fee in order to seek justice.

Adrian Beecroft

The idea of launching an ideological attack on the employment tribunal system dreamt up by the massive Tory donor Adrian Beecroft, who the Tories invited to draw up a wish-list of pro-corporate legislation he'd like to see enacted, and then rushed it through parliament with the help of the ever servile Lib-Dems.

Beecroft is a major investor in the payday loan company Wonga, and anyone should be able to see how further impoverishing low-paid workers by preventing them from seeking compensation for being unfairly sacked would create new profiteering opportunities for exploitative "legal loan shark" companies like Wonga.

It's sick enough that the Tories invited one of their mega-rich corporate donors to write up a wishlist of ro-corporate laws then enacted them for him, but that the guy had such an obvious financial conflict of interest in impoverishing sacked low-paid workers is absolutely outrageous.

Vince Cable

The Lib-Dems love to pretend that they moderated the Tories during the coalition years, but the new Lib-Dem leader Vince Cable was a principle cheerleader for these deeply illiberal and unlawful tribunal fees, describing sacked workers as scroungers with "time on their hands".

Now the Lib-Dems have the brass neck to pretend that they oppose these sickening and unlawful fees, but without their votes this ideologically driven Tory attack on workers' rights would never have seen the light of day.


The trade union Unison has been fighting these monstrous Tory tribunal fees all the way to the Supreme Court where they won a victory meaning that the tribunal fees must be scrapped, and the £27 million extracted from ordinary workers seeking justice must be refunded.

It's worth remembering that as the Tories continually try to pose as the party of hard working people, they're the ones who have overseen the longest sustained collapse in workers' wages in recorded history, they're the ones who introduced these grotesque and unlawful anti-worker tribunal fees, and it's trade unions who are fighting the anti-worker Tories every step of the way.

Tory sexism

Unfortunately this ruling will be no compensation to the tens of thousands of (majority female) workers who were deterred from seeking justice by impossibility of scraping together over a grand to pay these unlawful Tory tribunal fees.

The most affected workers of all were low-paid women seeking compensation for sex discrimination, or discrimination based on their pregnancy or maternity leave.

The number of women lodging pregnancy discrimination cases fell 40% because of these unlawful Tory fees, and the number lodging sex discrimination cases fell 82%!

It's astounding that Theresa May cried her crocodile tears over the gender disparity between BBC celebrities earning six figure salaries, but she was simultaneously fighting, all the way to the Supreme Court, to defend her party's unlawful tribunal fees that hit poor working women the hardest of all.

The Tory bad bosses' charter is dead

The £1,200 Tory tribunal fees simply acted as a bad bosses' charter, giving them the ability to abuse and discriminate against their lowest paid workers with impunity, safe in the knowledge that their workers would be highly unlikely to scrape together £1,200 in order to seek justice, especially if they've just been sacked.

During Theresa May's vanity election Labour pledged to scrap these obscene anti-worker tribunal fees, and thankfully the Supreme Court have ruled that Labour were right to want to scrap this unlawful Tory attack on workers.

Well done to the Supreme Court judges for recognising these fees as the affront to justice that they are. Well done to Labour (and the SNP, Plaid Cymru, and the Green Party) for fighting to scrap these fees before they were outlawed. And most of all well done to Unison for fighting on behalf of ordinary workers all across the UK to tear down this outrageous Tory anti-worker barrier to the justice system.

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* = Chris Grayling is a serial failure of a politician who has made an absolute mess of every brief he's been given, yet he keeps bouncing back because the Tory party is suffering such a dearth of talent that he's all they've got. He's now working as the Tory transport secretary and his "achievements" so far include handing the Southweatern franchise over to the Chinese government to run (because Tory ideology bans the UK state from running UK transport infrastructure, but is fine with the Chinese state running UK infrastructure), proposing to hand the operation of our taxpayer-built HS2 direct to a foreign government (Italy, China or France) and scrapping much-needed rail infrastructure improvements in Wales and the north of England.

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