The TUC has hit out at the employers’ campaign to cut the compensation
culture and reform the tribunal system in their favour.
It has published a briefing on "compensation culture myths" that
suggests only one in 800 people at work took a grievance to a tribunal hearing
Brendan Barber, deputy general secretary of the TUC, told delegates at the
annual congress, "I am fed up listening to employers griping about a
so-called compensation culture. Tribunal claims don’t arise because sacked
workers are ‘having a punt’. Only around 30,000 claims go to a full tribunal
"Meanwhile, as many as three-quarters of a million times a year,
employers get away with actions that could land them in a tribunal."
Earlier this month, the CBI launched a campaign to make employment tribunals
the last resort for workplace disputes. It claims that they will cost UK
business £633m in 2001.
While Barber admitted there had been a rise in tribunal cases, he blamed the
growth of smaller businesses that lack grievance procedures and the inability
of the tribunal system to hear test cases.
Despite a few big awards making the headlines, the average award for unfair
dismissal is modest at £2,515 and for discrimination £2,180, claimed Barber.
The TUC supports measures that will reduce the number of tribunal cases if
they encourage employers to adopt better systems for dealing with staff or
encourage fair settlement of cases without the need for a formal hearing.