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Help at work

Help, support and advice

Advising and supporting members at work is a fundamental part of what we do.

reps advising member

Prospect is uniquely placed to assist with problems at work. In most areas we know the organisation you work for and the terms and conditions that apply to employees. Our workplace knowledge, combined with our legal expertise, provides you with an invaluable service.

It's part of our day-to-day work to:

  • ensure that members are aware of their employment rights
  • handle grievance and disciplinary cases
  • take major legal cases on behalf of large numbers of staff
  • negotiate pay and conditions
  • seek to make positive changes to the quaity of our members' working lives.

Legal fees: why we were different

From July 2013 it cost up to £1,200 to take a claim to an employment tribunal. Prospect paid the fees involved in bringing cases to tribunals and courts whenever we supported a member's claim. We didn't want members to face these excessive costs, so we didn't ask them to repay those fees, whether the case was successful or not. In July 2017 the Supreme Court ruled that these fees were unlawful

Individual problems

We support individual members if they have a problem at work, from local grievances with line managers up to dismissal hearings and employment tribunals.

Collective issues

As a union, we can also take up collective issues that affect a number of people. For example, in 2011 Prospect took an Employment Tribunal claim for a group of 36 members when the Home Office refused to make payments due under the pay system because of the government pay freeze. Before the case reached the final hearing the employer agreed to settle the claims. This led to payments being made not just to the original claimants, but to all other members in a similar position.

We use employment law proactively to improve the rights of large groups of members, and have been at the forefront of the long-running equal pay challenges based on length of service. Prospect pursued two court cases against the Health and Safety Executive which went up to the Court of Appeal and European Court of Justice. They established that seniority-based pay systems which have a disproportionate impact on women workers need to be justified by the employer. Using these legal principles Prospect has run over a hundred other tribunal cases, and has used the rulings to negotiate fairer pay systems in a number of our members' employing organisations.

Negotiating pay and conditions

We negotiate pay awards with over 300 employers each year, working hard to get the best deal for our members in difficult financial circumstances.

We don't just deal with problems

Legal advice guideHelping members when they've got a problem is always one of our priorities, and there are times when we have to defend attacks on their terms and conditions. But we also want to make positive changes - to improve our members' lives at work - so we negotiate with employers on issues such as:

  • improvements to holiday entitlement
  • enhanced maternity and paternity leave
  • flexible working arrangements
  • training and career development schemes
  • equal opportunities policies that ensure all workers are treated with respect.

See our Legal Advice guide for details of our services and the terms and conditions for advice.