Struck Out: Why Employment Tribunals Fail Workers and What Can be Done
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Every year, over a hundred thousand workers bring claims to an Employment Tribunal. The settling of disputes between employers and unions has been exchanged by many for individual litigation.
In Struck Out, barrister David Renton gives a practical and critical guide to the system. In doing so he punctures a number of media myths about the Tribunals. Far from bringing flimsy cases, two-thirds of claimants succeed at the hearing. And rather than paying lottery-size jackpots, average awards are just a few thousand pounds – scant consolation for a loss of employment and often serious psychological suffering. The book includes a critique of the present government’s proposals to reform the Tribunal system.
Employment Tribunals are often seen by workers as the last line of defence against unfairness in the workplace. Struck Out shows why we can't rely on the current system to deliver fairness and why big changes are needed.
assistance at this stage, as reasons for losing are sought within the legal framework, e.g. wanting a black solicitor, or a second opinion from counsel.’21 Singh’s document was published by the union. Its message was ostensibly downbeat: expectations needed to be lowered, if the union was to survive. One point Singh highlighted was that members of unions seeking legal assistance inevitably take more from the pooled resources of the union than they give. Race claims are heard over more days than
London Underground or wherever. This was noticeable in 2010 and 2011, when the High Court and then the Court of Appeal repeatedly had to consider the compliance of various striking unions with the balloting requirements set out in statute. Where the employers sued, relying on various technical breaches of the strike rules, the Judges had real difficulty in understanding the purpose of the legislation which they were supposed to interpret. ‘Why does the law require unions to publicise the number
the first year (that is, 2008–09) and £250,000 per annum thereafter;14 and even these figures are implausibly high. How the CBI report could stretch this figure from £15 million to £497 million by autumn 2009 is not clear from their survey. It would be wrong to fix on this one survey as being particularly bad. It is better seen as being indicative of a whole school of corporate PR in which junk statistics are developed, repeated without care, and then further magnified in press reporting. The
access to legal advice, in reality, the proposal is that ACAS should direct claimants to settle, relying on the ACAS officer’s understanding of the law. Now some ACAS officers already display a tendency towards ‘mission creep’. Because it is their job to encourage settlement, and because in a settlement dialogue a side with representation will naturally be better placed to make its settlement arguments sound more legally robust than one without, a definite minority of ACAS officers engage in
employer to show that the reason for dismissal was not redundancy: Section 9(2)(b) Redundancy Payments Act 1965. 20. The fund continued until 1990. There is still a National Insurance Fund, from which payments can be made where an employer is insolvent; section 184 Employment Rights Act 1996. 21. Section 4A Contracts of Employment Act 1963. 22. (1966) 1 ITR 76, at 68. 23. For example, James v London Borough of Greenwich  ICR 545, discussed in the next chapter. 24. Greenhalgh, Industrial