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Struck Out: Why Employment Tribunals Fail Workers and What Can be Done Paperback – 8 Mar 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press (8 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745332552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745332550
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 1.1 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 650,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

David Renton is a barrister. Previously, he was for several years an academic historian in the UK and South Africa, holding senior posts including a Visiting Professorship at the University of Johannesburg. He lives in London together with his partner and their two children.

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Review

How can employers and the government argue that employment rights are a burden on business at the same time as so many workplace injustices go unremedied? In the context of a debate over employment law reform that is in danger of being overwhelmed by rhetoric and misinformation, this book will be essential reading for its empirically grounded and dispassionate analysis of what has gone wrong and how it might be put right. (Simon Deakin, Professor of Law at the University of Cambridge)

'Employment law in this country isn't written for working people' - I've lost count of how many times I've heard that at union meetings. But when you're the person victimised at work, then we all hope Employment Tribunals will deliver us justice. With this excellent step-by-step explanation of how the system works in reality, David Renton explains why it so rarely does. Blacklisted workers have experienced the process first-hand and know this book is true. (Dave Smith, Blacklist Support Group)

David Renton’s new book is very approachable and readable. It opens up employment law to students and employees alike. (Linda Clarke, Professor of European Industrial Relations, University of Westminster)

About the Author

David Renton is a barrister at Garden Court chambers in London and appears regularly for claimants at Employment Tribunals. Before being called to the Bar, Renton was a lecturer, senior researcher, and visiting professor in the UK and South Africa. He writes on employment law for the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers and is the author of Fascism (Pluto, 1999).

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter on 23 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are few books on dispute resolution and the employment tribunal system written sympathetically for the worker's perspective, so this fills a major gap. It is not written in 'legal-ese' and is not intended for a specialist law audience. The author, a barrister who has worked for trade unions, explains vividly how and why the individual rights-based employment tribunal model is of such limited use and effectiveness to ordinary workers, especially in more complex types of cases. He uncovers the assumptions behind employment law, the way the tribunal system works, and the way employers and their lawyers use it, which combine to ensure that justice is rarely achieved and, if it is, it turns out pretty hollow, time-consuming and expensive. David Renton's main point is that litigation is a poor substitute in achieving results for workers compared to strong workplace organisation. And this is even before the Coalition's planned reforms to tilt the balance of the ET system even further towards employers, on which Renton also pronounces judgment. Would-be litigants should read this BEFORE they put in the ET1: it's not necessarily that they shouldn't use the law, and there are some good tips on bear-traps to avoid in this book, but they should go in with their eyes open.
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The law is not our friend.

The Webbs state that the law is the most durable of protections for the worker, but the difficulty of achieving legislative changes and the often watered-down nature of the outcome “the minimum which in the light of all the evidence, seems indispensable to avert the grossest of the evil” (Webb and Webb, 1897, p254) show that trade unionsts who rely on the law alone fall into the deepest of traps.

I'm often been faced with union members who say: "They can't do THAT, can they Dave?" and it is tempting to say "What do you mean? They've DONE it haven't they?" Employers break the law every day and why shouldn't they? If taken to a tribunal, losing only means paying up what they might have saved by ignoring the law in first place. There is little if anything in the way of a punishment for the employer, only the barest of recompence for the employee (and much of this is never paid).

Dave Renton argues that the best use of the law is by organising groups of worker who "know their rights". Management do not like groups of organised workers saying "The law says you can't do this and we're NOT going to let it happen" and being advised by their solicitors "You know what? Theyre RIGHT."

A great read and a wake up call. Dave Renton also blogs on employment law (google for him)
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Employment Tribunals have been central in resolving workplace disputes for over 40 years. They have been used by successful governments to implement their business and employment legislative agendas, resulting in accusations from all parties involved of being a barrier to justice for both employers and employees.
Employment Tribunals are now very complex which, as David Renton methodologically explains, is not what they were originally established to be. The book is useful from an academic perspective, contextualising the historical and present day set up of tribunals and from a practical perspective through explaining how the tribunal system actually works.
David has the benefit of being both an academic and practicing Barrister which has enabled him to produce a superb description, explanation and critical analysis of employment tribunals. There are numerous employment law books covering this topic area, however Struck Out is an essential text for students, academics, representatives and anyone who is interested in this very topical aspect to both the legal profession and the workplace.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By semanteme on 17 Jun. 2012
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As Prof. Simon Deakin states in his own review of this important book, it is time to call a halt once and for all on the simplistic, illogical and above all, misinformed illusions that suggest that employment rights, fairness at work and, frankly, social justice somehow constitute an intolerable burden on businesses.

While (with undue modesty) the preface suggests that this is not a 'text book', and that it is as much about politics, history and sociology as the law, it should, however, be ESSENTIAL reading for any student, academic or practitioner in the field of employment law - perhaps also for those very reasons.

Unfortunately, the received practice in many law schools is to teach Employment law as though Employment Tribunals were a normal, readily accessible route (perhaps with the additional, benign intervention of ACAS) for obtaining just remedy for problems arising in the course of the employment relationship (unfair dismissal, equal pay, discrimination, etc.) within a fully functioning and transparent jurisprudential mechanism.

As Prof. Hugh Collins also comments elsewhere, it is, however, a profound mistake to imagine that the case law of employment tribunals or employment appeal tribunals is the 'whole story' of employment law disputes and injustices, or even representative of the kind of issues that arise. It is in fact the tip of the iceberg.
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