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The number of cases coming before employment tribunals has shot up by 50 per cent since 1998, according to a report published by an employer's group today.
The survey by EEF, formerly known as the Engineering Employers' Federation, revealed that last year alone the number of cases handled on behalf of its 6,000 members increased by 3 per cent to 2,206 cases, compared to 2,145 in 2002. This contrasted with 1,450 cases handled by EEF in 1998 when membership was at the same level.
"There is a rising tide of employment litigation which is benefiting nobody in the workplace, certainly not employers, whilst employees are not securing significant victories," commented Peter Schofield, the EEF director of employment & legal affairs. "The Government's forthcoming Dispute Resolution Procedures will not, by themselves, help and could make the situation worse. The message from these figures is that all parties … must redouble their efforts to ensure more workplace disputes are resolved in the workplace."
The survey also revealed that over one quarter of claims, 27 per cent, were withdrawn by the applicant before reaching a hearing and more than three-quarters of claims, 78 per cent, heard by the tribunal were won by the employer. The average settlements and tribunal awards were "just under £5,500".