Employment tribunal hearings increased by 25% in 2006

The number of workplace disputes ending up in court rose by 25% last year, according to a report out this week.

Employers group the EEF, which mainly represents manufacturers, handled 1,545 tribunal hearings in 2006, compared with 1,227 in 2005.

The EEF said this showed the urgent need for the government to implement the dispute procedure recommendations of the Gibbons Review.

Peter Schofield, EEF director of employment and legal affairs, said: “These figures suggest that while the government has tried to reduce the number of tribunal claims, there is still a long way to go to halt the rising tide of employment litigation.”

The survey also revealed that only one in 50 claims put before employment tribunals was upheld, and the majority of awards were “relatively low”.

Michael Gibbons reported to government last month after strong criticism from both employers and unions of the statutory dispute resolution regulations introduced in October 2004. He called for a “greatly increased role” for mediation.

Less than one in three claims made in 2006 was withdrawn by the claimant before reaching a tribunal hearing, the EEF found.

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