SNP MSP Christina McKelvie has used today’s debate on employee rights in the Scottish Parliament to highlight a dramatic fall in sex discrimination cases brought before Employment Tribunals – showing ‘clear evidence’ that the introduction of fees by the UK Government is impeding access to justice for women in Scotland.

Figures highlighted during today’s debate show that that there was a huge fall of 85 per cent in the number of sex discrimination claims brought before tribunals since the introduction of charges by the UK Government – falling from 186 claims between October-December 2012 to only 27 cases in October-December 2014 after the introduction of charges.

During the debate, the Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work Roseanna Cunningham made clear that the Scottish Government will work to protect employee rights in Scotland and trade unions from the UK Government’s “regressive, corrosive and oppressive approach”.

Commenting, Ms McKelvie said:

“These are deeply worrying figures showing clearly how the UK Government’s unfair imposition of fees for Employment Tribunals is impeding access to justice for workers in Scotland – with women once again bearing the brunt of this government’s callous attitude to employee’s rights.

“Introducing fees for Employment Tribunals was always clearly a retrograde step – and these figures show clear evidence that the unfair, indefensible fees are hindering workers seeking the justice they deserve. And with a staggering 85 per cent fall in sex discrimination cases brought before Employment Tribunals, it couldn’t be clearer that once again it is women who are paying the price.  

“The idea that any woman should be prevented from seeking justice for sex discrimination in 21st Century Scotland is simply unacceptable.

“This is exactly why we need powers over employment rights to devolved to Scotland, to allow us to take substantive action to protect the rights of workers and to put a stop to the seemingly endless Tory attacks on hard-working people – and I would hope that every progressive party in the Scottish Parliament can unite behind this common-sense idea.”