TUC and CWU Hits out at Plans to Stop Injured Workers and Motorists Claiming Legal Costs
To: All Branches
The TUC, CWU and all UK Unions and Lawyers have criticised the Government’s plans, announced on 23 February to stop injured workers from reclaiming their legal costs in cases where claims are worth under £2,000.
Ministry of Justice proposals announced last Thursday will mean that thousands of workers, mostly low paid, are no longer able to get the legal expertise they need to seek compensation after an injury.
The Government has announced that it will be increasing the small claims limit for employers’ liability personal injury claims from £1,000 to £2,000. Although this is well below the £5,000 originally proposed (and which will now apply to road traffic claims), it is still an attack on the ability of workers to claim compensation and will disproportionately hit the lowest paid. It will restrict the ability of unions to support these members and will also have an impact on health and safety in the workplace as there will be less pressure on employers and from their insurers to deal with safety failures that lead to lower level injuries. There is also a concern that this is just a stepping stone to a further increase at a later date.
The TUC has issued a press release on the announcement and Unions will continue to oppose it.
People injured at work because of their employer’s negligence or those injured in road crashes because of other drivers mistakes, carelessness or recklessness shouldn’t have to pay their own legal costs. This will stop many low-paid and vulnerable workers from bringing damages compensation claims for personal injuries. It will also cost Unions more to support their members through legal services benefits.
These plans are dangerous and will encourage bad bosses to cut corners with health and safety. So much for Tory Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech to the Tory Party Conference last October when she said on workers’ rights – “Existing workers’ legal rights will continue to be guaranteed in law – and they will be guaranteed as long as I am prime minister. We’re going to see workers’ rights not eroded, and not just protected, but enhanced under this government.”
The government announced their intention to make these changes in their 2015 Autumn Statement and this announcement is the first part of their intended changes. They intend to follow this up with a fixed tariff of compensation payments or ‘cap’ on amounts awarded. This is clearly designed to benefit the Insurance Industry at the expense of ordinary working people who get injured.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer
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LTB 112/17 TUC and CWU Hits out at Plans to Stop Injured Workers and Motorists Claiming Legal Costs