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Industrial Tribunals

Volume 21: debated on Tuesday 30 March 1982

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13.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will consider seeking to consolidate the statutory and other provisions relating to industrial tribunals.

The regulations relating to industrial tribunal procedures were consolidated some 18 months ago. My right hon. Friend has no plans at present for any further consolidation.

Does the Minister accept that the present industrial tribunal system does not provide adequate protection for employed people? Does he know that 74 per cent. of all claims for unfair dismissal compensation fail, and that at a time when most people who are unfairly dismissed do not bring claims because to do so would be a passport to permanent unemployment?

The fact that 27·7 per cent. of applications succeed does not mean that justice is not being done. About two-thirds of the total number of complaints are withdrawn or settled at the conciliation stage. It shows that ACAS is doing a good job and that the burden on the tribunals is being relieved.

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the statement that he has just made springs directly from the tightening of the tribunal regulations, which were deliberately designed by the Government to make it more difficult for people who are unfairly dismissed to obtain compensation from the tribunal?

I do not agree with the right hon. Gentleman for a moment. There were 35,747 applications last year, and the 27·7 per cent. success rate is not out of line with what one would expect, bearing in mind the large number of cases that were settled.