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Disappointment as the Government rejects Usdaw's Justice for Injured Workers Campaign - Labour will seek to amend the Civil Liability Bill

Date: 04 September 2018 Shopworkers’ trade union leader Paddy Lillis is disappointed that the Government is ploughing ahead with proposals that will restrict injured workers’ access to justice, by forcing more cases through the small claims court in England and Wales. This is despite cross-party calls for a rethink during tonight’s second reading debate of the Civil Liability Bill.
Government proposals will double the threshold for cases taken in the small claims court to £2,000. Usdaw is backing the cross-party Justice Select Committee recommendation of a £1,500 limit, which reflects inflation since the limit was last adjusted in 1999.

Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary says: “We are campaigning to stop the Government forcing more injured workers into the small claims court, where the costs of legal representation cannot be recovered from negligent employers.

“It was very disappointing to hear the Secretary of State confirm that the Government is continuing with their unfair and unnecessary proposal. However, we were pleased that Labour confirmed they will be tabling amendments at committee stage of the Civil Liability Bill.

“Usdaw fears that an increase in the small claims court threshold to £2,000 will not only restrict access to justice for injured workers, but also have a damaging effect on workplace health and safety as negligent employers are less likely to face the consequences in court. We support a reasonable and fair compromise of raising the threshold to £1,500, which is recommended by the cross-party Justice Select Committee.”

Constituents can help the campaign by asking their MP to oppose the Government’s plans. It’s quick and easy to do with Usdaw’s online e-mail your MP facility at: www.usdaw.org.uk/Justice4InjuredWorkers

Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with around 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 28% over the decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
House of Commons Justice Committee - Small claims limit for personal injury - Seventh Report of Session 2017–19: “81. We are deeply unimpressed by the Ministry of Justice’s inability to quantify the potential impact of raising to £2,000 the small claims limit for employer liability and public liability claims. Given the potential complexity of these claims for self-represented claimants and evidence of the role of litigation in maintaining safe and healthy workplaces, we recommend that they continue to be subject to the lowest small claims threshold—which we have recommended should be set at around £1,500 to take account of inflation since 1999.”
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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