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Public sector faces 37% of employment appeals despite employing just 22% of UK workforce

Burden of employment claims likely to increase substantially as public spending cuts take effect

37% of employment appeals are against public sector organisations despite public bodies employing just 22% of the UK workforce, reveals research by EMW, the commercial law firm.*  

The percentage of employment appeals in the public sector is now 24% higher than five years ago. In 2006, the public sector accounted for 30% of employment appeals.  

EMW says that public sector employers are bracing themselves for a jump in employment claims in the next 12 months as the job cuts announced by the Government take place.   

EMW explains that redundancies, cuts in benefits and the introduction of active performance management are likely to heighten animosity between public sector workers and their employers.  

Comments Louise Holder, a Principal in the employment team at EMW: “The public sector is already burdened by a disproportionately high number of employment claims and the problem could get worse as cost and efficiency savings are put in place.”  

“Many of these claims will be from public sector workers who have been made redundant. People are much more likely to bring unfair dismissal claims during tough economic conditions, particularly if they feel that their prospects of getting another job quickly are slim. With more public sector job cuts on the way, this could be the tip of the iceberg.”  

Working harder for less money  

EMW says that it is likely that public sector workers will now be asked to work harder for less money and job security, creating stress and resentment that may lead to a larger number of employment claims in the next 12 months.  

Louise Holder adds: “At the same time, the public sector is expected to start putting in place efficiency drives with performance targets that are likely to be tougher and monitored more rigorously. Some employees who are not used to this could see this as a form of bullying while those who are made redundant could file for unfair dismissal.”

 

Percentage of Employment claims vs. percentage of workforce by employment sector in 2010*

*This research is based on an analysis of all Employment Appeals Tribunals (EAT) and National Statistics.