UNION bosses are celebrating after a South Tyneside worker won “significant” damages, worth five years of a salary.
Public services union, Unison, secured the damages for a South Shields worker who was discriminated against on the grounds of a disability by an employer.
But union officials have warned that some workers could soon face hefty bills for fighting industrial cases.
Although the identities of the worker and the company cannot be revealed, Unison says it is “delighted” with the outcome.
Union officials and their solicitors, Thompsons, have been thanked for their support for the case.
John McDade, Unison regional organiser, said: “This settlement is an example of the type of results the union achieves for our members on a regular basis.
“Without trade union backing, ordinary working people would not get this kind of access to justice.”
Mr McDade added: “The result for this South Shields worker is quite a high settlement.
“We are very happy for this worker, who has been awarded damages which are the equivalent of five years’ salary, which is a significant amount.”
But Unison is also worried about planned Government legislation, which would see low-paid workers having to shell out large sums of money in order to make applications to employment tribunals.
Mr McDade added: “With the introduction later this year of hefty fees to lodge a claim at employment tribunals, this will be unaffordable to all but a very few.
“It makes union membership essential.”
Mr McDade went on to warn that poorly paid workers could have to pay up to £1,000 to pursue their claims for justice.
“How many ordinary working people can put their hands on that kind of money?” he asked.
“It is totally unfair,” he added.