Blog: A year on, our employment tribunal fees win is changing lives

UNISON celebrates its landmark victory over the scrapping of employment tribunal fees at the Supreme Court in London in 2018 with then general secretary Dave Prentis. Westminster, London. United Kingdom

A year ago today, our union won a huge victory for working people, when we defeated the government on employment tribunal fees.

This was a result that could only have been achieved by our union. Only UNISON was able to commit the significant resources over a prolonged period of time that was necessary to win the case. Our fantastic legal team fought every step of the way with dedication, passion and skill to right this historic wrong. I promised UNISON members that we would fight this case to the highest court in the land, with our whole union stood as one against this injustice – and we were, at long last, vindicated by the decision of the Supreme Court.

This was a massive win not just for our union, but for all workers, whether they’re UNISON members or not. Working people who needed protection the most – low-paid workers, the vulnerable and those treated poorly by their employers – were denied access to justice. Now they are free to pursue their rights through the legal system without facing punitive fees.

It’s already possible to see that they’ve done exactly that. The number of single claims has increased by 118% – and around £4 million in fees have been repaid. This is the difference that trade unionism, strong legal work and campaigning on our convictions achieves.

This is the difference that UNISON makes.

On the anniversary of this great victory – let’s celebrate what we can achieve together, and let’s push onwards towards the victories to come.