Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable has admitted in an Independent interview that the Coalition’s introduction of employment tribunals was a mistake.
Since the introduction of fees of up to £1,250 in July 2013 there has been a dramatic fall in the number of claims being taken to tribunal. Cable said that the total number of claims at employment tribunals fell by almost 70 per cent – down from 340,000 in the first three months of the 2013-14 financial year to just over 110,000 in the third quarter of 2014-15. He said sex discrimination claims were down 82 per cent from 21,000 to 3,500 over the same period, while the number of equal pay cases dropped by 72 per cent from almost 27,000 to 7,500.
He concluded; “There is enough evidence to suggest that this was a very bad move and should be reversed. It is highly suggestive that the fees are discouraging people – particularly low paid women—from pursuing their rights.” Seeking to distance himself from the decision, he described it as part of the Conservatives’ “aggressively anti-worker, anti-union agenda”. He accused Justice Secretary Chris Grayling of “remarkable bad faith” for failing to carry out a review after their introduction. “There is enough evidence to suggest that this was a very bad move and should be reversed,” he said.
Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity, commented: "My first reaction when reading this was: 'No s*** Sherlock!'. Unions have pointed this out since the unjust charges were introduced. More charitably, however, and being in a Biblical frame of mind after a recent case, I conclude 'Better the one Sinner who repenteth'!"