Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from this morning's papers.

1. Antisemitism doesn't always come doing a Hitler salute (Guardian)

Hatred of Jews is often more coded than explicit, but the Daily Mail's attack on Ralph Miliband pressed all the same old buttons, Jonathan Freedland writes.

2.The greatest trick Fifa ever pulled was to issue a Qatar weather warning (Guardian)

 Marina Hyde: The 2022 World Cup is being built by slaves in a non-democracy, but that's not the issue for Sepp Blatter and co.

3. From Zulu to the 'White Widow', why do all African stories need a white face? (Guardian)

Samantha Lewthwaite's involvement in the Westgate mall siege in Kenya may not be complete fiction, but either way the real story is about much more than her.

4. The real target should not have been Miliband senior, but his son (Telegraph)

By saying that Labour would freeze energy prices, Ed Miliband fulfils his father Ralph’s vision of state control, writes Charles Moore.

5. Green dreams that have been blown away (Telegraph)

The Government's volte-face over the Planning and Energy Act shows how times have changed

6. You’ll soon be able to buy that AK47 again (Telegraph)

The FBI has closed Silk Road and arrested its alleged founder Ross Ulbricht, but another secret online market is bound to open before long

7.Slowly, the Whitehall machine has adapted to coalition. But it may well need to go further (Independent)

This Government has been a good advert for sharing power, writes Andrew Grice.

8. The price of a loaf is of little importance (FT)

Cameron’s critics chose a singularly useless indicator, writes Tim Harford.

9. There’s no point trying to live in London (FT)

Property fetishism pervades Britain and buyers are becoming more neurotic, says Christian Oliver

10. Geeks can be girls (Telegraph)

By Gillian Tett: ‘Computing has become culturally defined as ‘male’ in the western student world’.

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How tribunal fees silenced low-paid workers: “it was more than I earned in a month”

The government was forced to scrap them after losing a Supreme Court case.

How much of a barrier were employment tribunal fees to low-paid workers? Ask Elaine Janes. “Bringing up six children, I didn’t have £20 spare. Every penny was spent on my children – £250 to me would have been a lot of money. My priorities would have been keeping a roof over my head.”

That fee – £250 – is what the government has been charging a woman who wants to challenge their employer, as Janes did, to pay them the same as men of a similar skills category. As for the £950 to pay for the actual hearing? “That’s probably more than I earned a month.”

Janes did go to a tribunal, but only because she was supported by Unison, her trade union. She has won her claim, although the final compensation is still being worked out. But it’s not just about the money. “It’s about justice, really,” she says. “I think everybody should be paid equally. I don’t see why a man who is doing the equivalent job to what I was doing should earn two to three times more than I was.” She believes that by setting a fee of £950, the government “wouldn’t have even begun to understand” how much it disempowered low-paid workers.

She has a point. The Taylor Review on working practices noted the sharp decline in tribunal cases after fees were introduced in 2013, and that the claimant could pay £1,200 upfront in fees, only to have their case dismissed on a technical point of their employment status. “We believe that this is unfair,” the report said. It added: "There can be no doubt that the introduction of fees has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of cases brought."

Now, the government has been forced to concede. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Unison’s argument that the government acted unlawfully in introducing the fees. The judges said fees were set so high, they had “a deterrent effect upon discrimination claims” and put off more genuine cases than the flimsy claims the government was trying to deter.

Shortly after the judgement, the Ministry of Justice said it would stop charging employment tribunal fees immediately and refund those who had paid. This bill could amount to £27m, according to Unison estimates. 

As for Janes, she hopes low-paid workers will feel more confident to challenge unfair work practices. “For people in the future it is good news,” she says. “It gives everybody the chance to make that claim.” 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.