Tribunal numbers tumble as early resolutions rise

The number of disgruntled workers going through employment tribunals has
fallen by 18 per cent, according to the latest figures.

The Office of Tribunals said the number of staff lodging an application to
start tribunal proceedings fell from 128,000 in 2001 to 105,000 last year.

It attributed the fall to improved conciliation and negotiation methods, and
an increase in the amount of cases resolved at an early stage by employers.

However, research commissioned by law firm Peninsula to coincide with the
results warns that a raft of legislation including flexible working, discrimination
and equal pay questionnaires, could send future numbers soaring.

The study also included a poll of more than 800 employers, which shows that
83 per cent think more effort should be made to resolve disputes before they
reach tribunal.

In addition, more than eight out of 10 organisations feel it’s currently too
easy for staff to take employers to tribunal, while three-quarters said the UK
employment litigation process has got out of hand.

Peninsula’s managing director Peter Done said employers must ensure the
right HR measures are in place and focus on developing systems to resolve
disputes before going to tribunal.

"Although we have seen a slight dip in tribunal applications, I fear it
may only be short-lived," he said. "We have a raft of new worker
rights being introduced which will begin to feed into the tribunal system by
the end of the year."

By Ross Wigham

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