As 2016 draws to a close, Thompsons Solicitors is celebrating another momentous year of campaigning for UK consumers’ and workers’ rights.

From challenging the government’s attempts to raise small claims limits through to successfully securing a landmark victory in the UK construction industry’s blacklisting scandal, it’s been a remarkable year.

“We are immensely proud to have been a part of some important campaigns and victories this year for consumers and workers in Britain,” said Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompson’s Solicitors.

“Thompsons campaigns to ensure workers and consumers are fairly represented across the UK, and that if they are subject to disciplinary proceedings those processes are transparent and fair.”

The blacklisting scandal

In May, Thompsons worked with Unite, the UK’s largest union, to secure victory and a £10 million pay-out for 256 blacklisted construction workers.

The law firm fought for five years for justice for the workers, who had lost their jobs at more than 30 construction firms – including household names such as Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd and Balfour Beatty Engineering Services - and had their lives ruined, for carrying out legitimate trade union activities.

Ethnic penalties for drivers

In August, Thompsons Solicitors called again for greater transparency and accountability from the car insurance industry when research by analysts Webber Phillips revealed around one in five UK residents – 12 million people – were being affected by an ethnic penalty when purchasing car insurance.

The research found that if you’re a car owner living in an area with a high number of ethnic minority households you were likely to be paying a higher premium for your car insurance – up to £458 in some areas.

Small claims, big impact

In the 2015 autumn statement, the Chancellor announced plans to limit access to representation and compensation for people injured in road accidents by increasing the small claims limit from £1,000 to £5,000. It claimed there was a ‘fraud and claims culture in motor insurance’ but produced no independent evidence to support the claim.

With car insurance a compulsory purchase, premiums rising and accident compensation at an all-time low, Thompsons launched its Small Claims, Big Impact campaign encouraging consumers who disagree with the decision to take action, including by writing to their local MP.

The government has since announced that it wants to include workplace injuries to their so-called ‘whiplash reforms’, meaning that people injured anywhere, including at work, would be left without free or affordable legal representation.

Help fight against the planned increase of the small claims limit by visiting and signing the petition.

Speaking about the year ahead, he added: “We will continue to fight for the legitimate rights of those who need our support and challenge the government’s continued attempts to take away rights from those who are simply trying to British citizens who are injured or discriminated against through no fault of their own.”