Labor VS Capital: Justice in an age of austerity
Charging workers from employment tribunals erodes their rights.
Eight years after Britain emerged from recession, average real earnings are still below their peak.
But measly pay is not the only thing squeezing workers.
Since 2013 employees who think they have been wronged by their employer—underpaid or dismissed unfairly, for instance—have had to pay up to ￡1,200 ($1,500) to go to an employment tribunal, which was previously free.
A challenge to the legality of such fees came before the Supreme Court on March 27th.
A judgment is expected by the summer.
Since the decline of trade-union membership in Britain, the employment-tribunal system has been the main mechanism for enforcing individual employment rights.
In 2012-13 there were roughly 190,000 tribunal claims, equivalent to one for every 130 or so employees.
After fees were introduced the number of claims dropped by about 70%.
There were only around 60,000 in 2014-15.
The government has welcomed the decline as evidence that bogus claimants are being deterred.
“Like Japanese knotweed,” one government minister wrote in 2014, “the soaring number of tribunal cases was squeezing the life and energy from Britain's wealth creators.”
But a paper in the Modern Law Review by Abi Adams and Jeremias Prassl of Oxford University suggests a different interpretation.
但是由牛津大学的Abi Adams和Jeremias Prassl编写的《现代法律评论》里一篇文章暗示了另一种解说。