Leading trade union for low paid workers and those in the so-called “gig-economy” the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) will act as intervener in Unison v. The Lord Chancellor,  a challenge that hopes to overturn the deeply unjust imposition of fees for those that seek redress before the UK’s employment and employment appeal tribunals.

The case, which is being seen by the Supreme Court on 27 and 28 March, was brought by Unison and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is also acting as intervener.

The IWGB’s lawyers on the case, solicitors Balfour and Manson LLP and prominent Scottish QC Aiden O’Neil, will argue that the fees are in contravention of European Union (EU) freedom of movement laws and EU citizen’s rights to access courts, which state that citizens should have equal access to courts across the UK.

But the imposition of employment tribunal fees means that it is harder to access these courts in England and Wales than in Scotland, where there are some provisions for the funding of legal costs.

The introduction of employment tribunal fees was a massive assault on the rights of low paid workers to hold their employers to account. In the near total absence of any government enforcement of employment law, a claimant’s access to tribunals need to be facilitated, not restricted,” says IWGB General Secretary Dr Jason Moyer-Lee.

By way of example our low-paid members, in the absence of the IWGB policy of funding their tribunal cases, would have been left with zero redress,” he said.

Employment tribunal fees which can run upwards of £1000, were introduced by the Coalition Government in July 2013.

The IWGB is a campaigning union, which has brought a number of high profile test cases before UK employment tribunals. It has a track record of forcing so-called “gig-economy” employers to recognize their workers’ rights, most recently in Boxer v Excel and Dewhurst v CitySprint, and is bringing a landmark case before the Central Arbitration Committee which will determine whether Deliveroo riders are independent contractors or workers. The IWGB also acted as intervener in the Article 50 Supreme Court case.

The union has waged a number of campaigns such as for the London Living Wage at the Royal Opera House and at John Lewis, and the 3 Cosas Campaign (sick pay, holidays, and pensions) at the University of London.

For more information:

Emiliano Mellino, Press officer


02034907530 or 02035383720