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26.01.2023 / News /

Free legal representation deal for UVW members in 2023

United Voices of the World union (UVW) and the Free Representation Unit (FRU) have renewed their agreement to offer free legal representation to UVW members in the Employment Tribunal. This is UVW’s latest partnership in a series of alliances aimed at challenging bosses in the workplace and through the courts. 

FRU is a charity that provides legal advice and representation for Employment Tribunal claims and appeals, benefit appeals and some criminal injury compensation cases. Their work is done by lawyers and law student volunteers trained and supervised by the organisation’s legal officers. The service will come at no cost to members. 

Petros Elia, general secretary of UVW says: “FRU is yet another way we are helping our members achieve justice in the workplace. We are proud that in UVW we achieve a huge amount of legal wins with ingenuity and resourcefulness. Being a small union on a shoestring budget, UVW has never been able to guarantee representation to all members. However, we have always punched above our weight by combining expert in-house and out-of-house representation. At the end of the day what matters is supporting our members and we will always use every trick in the book to help them fight for dignity, equality and respect at work.” 

Although there’s no guarantee of representation, FRU is committed to supporting as many cases from UVW as possible to take a variety of single claims from our members such as unfair dismissals and unpaid wage claims and, where possible, more complicated discrimination claims once a court hearing has been scheduled for the case.

UVW’s excellent legal team, who with few resources has achieved a huge number of tribunal victories for our members, will continue to focus on strategic litigation –  that means cases that reinforce UVW’s mission and have the potential to bring about wider legal and structural changes in society – and will engage with external solicitors and barristers when needed. UVW’s strategic cases include allegations of trade union victimisation, institutional racism, worker status claims as well as Judicial Reviews. 

Many of these claims were pursued in cooperation with external solicitors and barristers, for example our victory about indirect race discrimination at the Royal Parks and our right to participate in the Judicial Review of Edinburgh Council’s strip club ban, as well as our successful interim relief claims against Saint James Tavern and Pizza Pilgrims.

Dozens of our members’ cases are already being supported by law firms such as Leigh Day, Garden Court Chambers, PILC and GA solicitors. We also use a personal injury lawyer who has won our members around £1 million in compensation over the years.  

We are here to support you in every way we can! 

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