Although not spread across the front pages of the papers we thought the newly published employment tribunal statistics would be of interest this month given that they are the first to be published since the withdrawal of the Tribunal fee regime. The statistics cover the period from July to September 2017 and do seem to suggest that there is some truth to the rumours of tribunal offices dealing with a 100% increase in tribunal claims. Despite the fact that fees were not abolished until towards the end of July, over the 3 month period as a whole the statistics show a 64% increase in individual tribunal claims - that equates to 7,042 claims compared to what had become a fairly steady quarterly receipt of around 4,200 claims previously. The next set of statistics, which will be the first to cover a period where no fee had to be paid, will be published in March 2018.
The Work and Pensions Secretary, David Gauke, announced on the Andrew Marr Show that ministers intend to extend auto-enrolment to every worker aged 18 or over (currently it applies to workers aged 22 or over). Reports suggest that it is likely to be the mid 2020's before it happens but ministers believe that, once implemented, around 900,000 young people will be affected.
Shell was the latest company to publish gender pay gap figures this month. Shell revealed that male staff on average earn 22.2% more than women in the UK. The mean bonus pay gap was reported as 43.2%. Shell explained the figures as being attributable to having "a low number of women in senior leadership positions, and fewer women working in technical or trading roles that attract higher rates of pay".
Strikes are often perceived to be very much a public sector issue. However, new statistics published by the Office for National Statistics have revealed that the number of working days lost to strikes in the private sector has increased by 80% in the last year. This equates to 150,000 lost days in 2016-17. Meanwhile in the public sector the number of days lost to strikes fell by 69% over the same period - equating to 72,000 days.