The number of people taking their boss to an employment tribunal over unfair dismissal has fallen by over two-thirds (70 per cent) across the Midlands over the last year, according to new analysis published by the TUC.
The analysis, which has been published to mark the first anniversary of the introduction of tribunal fees, shows the Midlands has experienced the sharpest drop in cases of any region in the UK since fees were introduced in July 2013.
Just 561 workers in the Midlands took their employer to a tribunal over unfair dismissal between January and March 2014, compared to 1,881 over the same period in 2013.
The TUC says the fall shows that many people are being priced out of justice, with low-paid workers in the region particularly affected.
Under the new system, workers face having to pay up to £1,200 to take an unfair dismissal claim to tribunal, including minimum wage workers if a member of their household has savings of £3,000.
The government has set up a remission scheme for low-paid employees but official figures show that only in four UK workers who applied for financial assistance to take an employment tribunal have been given any form of help.
Midlands TUC Regional Secretary Rob Johnston said: “The huge drop in cases taken doesn’t mean that bosses in the Midlands have got a whole lot nicer in the past year.
“It’s simply because pursuing a complaint against a bad employer has become too expensive for many workers, and that is just plain wrong.”
“In the past there were no fees, workers who felt they’d been wronged could have their case heard, and the tribunal would either find for them or in their employer’s favour. But last summer, the government decided to restrict justice to those who could afford to pay a fee.
“The introduction of tribunal fees is part of a wider government campaign to get rid of workers’ basic rights.”