Employers call for action after record claim figures

Engineering Employers’ Federation is urging the Government to introduce the
Acas arbitration scheme soon after reporting a record number of employment
tribunal claims in 2000.

findings reveal that the number of employment tribunal claims handled by the
EEF rose by 17.5 per cent in 2000 to 3,255.

6 per cent of claims submitted by applicants were upheld at tribunal, with 70
per cent of claims settled or withdrawn before reaching a hearing, said the
EEF. It pointed to the fact that almost one-fifth of cases were withdrawn,
suggesting a large number of weak claims.

EEF, which represents nearly 6,000 engineering companies, said the figures
prove that increasing litigation is weighing down business.

Martin, EEF’s director of employment policy, said, "These figures back the
complaints from business that the avalanche of employment legislation of the
last few years has fuelled an ever-increasing culture of litigation."

added, "Employers are now facing the problem of defending more and more
cases at a time when their companies are already under great pressure."

urged the DTI to implement the Acas arbitration scheme, launched last December.
If the scheme is approved, it should be operational by spring 2000. The scheme
aims to cut down on the number of cases going to tribunal by offering the
option of confidential and binding arbitration.

said, "We are keen supporters of the scheme. But we want the DTI to
broaden it to take on more cases. The weakness of the Acas scheme is that it
only deals with unfair dismissal cases."

EEF also called for measures to revise existing application forms for
employment tribunals so that both applicant and employer can set out their
defence of claims.

findings from the EEF survey show that disability bias claims increased by 40
per cent in 2000, although only 6 per cent were successful at tribunal.

Karen Higginbottom

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