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Access to Justice: Exposing the Myths

JANUARY 21, 2020

A new publication from the Institute of Employment Rights demolishes the saloon bar myths disseminated by neoliberal politicians, employers' organisations, and the right-wing press on workers' access to justice. It shows that the system stacks the odds in favour of the employer, not, as is so often claimed, in favour of the worker.

In contrast to the arguments of the myth makers, the arguments presented are backed by reference to tribunal and court cases, and to reports and surveys published by Government departments and academics.

Despite the big pay outs publicised in the press, the overwhelming majority of awards are remarkably small, rarely even begin to compensate the worker for the loss sustained, and an astounding proportion are never paid.

Re-instatement, the primary remedy for unfair dismissal, has effectively been abandoned. Acas conciliation serves largely to allow employers to dispose of those few cases with the potential to prove expensive quickly and cheaply – and without embarrassing publicity - confident that the worker is unlikely to risk the expensive gamble of a tribunal hearing.

Individual legal employment rights, it is argued, were intended to compliment, not replace, the negotiating strength of organised labour. Now, perhaps more than ever in the past 100 years, there is a necessity for every worker to join an effective and independent trade union in order to win back the freedoms and rights lost since 1979.

This is the second in the IER’s series of Mythbusters, the first of which - the Mythology of Business - saw David Whyte explain how some of the most common arguments in favor of neoliberalism (such as the “trickle-down effect” or “health and safety gone mad”) are being used to mislead the public.

Both Mythbusters are now available for just £6 each for trade union members here.

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