Workers' rights are important and every worker, union member or not relies on these rights every working day of their life.
Last year the rules on a claim of "unfair dismissal" changed with the length of "qualification time in work" changing from one to two years! Now each case which proceeds to a full tribunal no longer needs to be heard by three tribunal members - it can be heard by a legally qualified chairperson alone without the two lay members who come from employer and employee (trade union) back grounds.
Now if you wish to take a claim to the Employment Tribunal service (part of the Ministry of Justice) you are required to pay fees. The fees can be as high as £1,200 for "complex" cases. UNISON has applied for a Judicial Review which will consider arguments against these fees - these arguments are scheduled to be heard in October.
Unison is committed to challenging what could be seen as a price on access to justice. In the meantime every branch and all branch officers and stewards are being equipped to work with their members to fully record claims which may be resolved through processes in the workplace, or may ultimately lead to an application to an Employment Tribunal.
Employment Tribunal members are trained and committed to making the experience during a tribunal as accessible as possible within the rules that govern their service.