The Government has to dramatically rethink its strategy on dispute
resolution if the burden on the tribunal system is to be eased, claims a report
by a leading think-tank.
The Institute for Public Policy Research believes the proposed reforms to
the system do not go far enough, and the only way to significantly cut
litigation is by improving staff and employer understanding of rights and
While the report, called Worker’s Rights and Wrongs, acknowledges that the
Government already provides help and information on employment rights, it
claims that it is fragmented and uncoordinated.
The centre-left think-tank is calling for the Government to create a single
source of information on staff rights and employers’ responsibilities.
Consultation on the Government’s proposals to tackle spiralling employment
tribunals numbers closed on 8 October (see box).
Report author Nick Burkitt is also calling for the Government to set up a
stronger enforcement agency of the employee rights.
He believes the Inland Revenue’s National Minimum Wage Enforcement Agency
should be developed to investigate a wider range of workplace rights relating
to pay and hours.
Burkitt also wants a new task force to be set up to consider how employment
law can be better understood and applied.
He said, "The Government needs a new approach. It needs to target
non-compliance, alongside a wider push for better employment practice based on
improved information and support for employers as well as employees."
By Mike Broad
Government steps to shake up tribunal system
– All organisations are to have
dispute resolution procedures in place
– Claimants will be charged for use of the employment tribunal
– Awards will be increased against employers and reduced for
staff if either party has not used internal grievance procedures
– All employers to provide a written statement of terms to staff
– A fixed period of conciliation will ensure both parties make
every effort to come to a settlement
– A fast-track system will be introduced for certain
jurisdictions (such as unlawful pay deductions and breach of contract)