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Hi I'm representing a group of employees at my retail workplace some of which are part time and some are full time. The shifts we do vary between 4 and 12 hours a day. It is an individual business not part of a chain or anything. There is no union or HR department there are just the managers who own the business and about 20 staff who work for them. The problem is that we are not allowed to take any rest breaks even in 12 hour shifts. We have previously been allowed a few minutes to eat a meal at some point during the shift but we have to stay at our workplace and if the phone rings we have to leave our meal to answer it or if a customer needs serving we have to serve them. Often our food is left to go cold before we can get back to finish it.

 

The new problem is that we have seen an email between the managers complaining about staff eating during their shift and it shouldnt be allowed as it looks bad to the customers (the email wasn't meant to be seen by us but one of the managers left it on screen on a computer in a public office. They dont know we have read it and ok maybe we shouldn't have if it wasn't addressed to us but we have and its about us anyway).

 

So one of us contacted acas and all they said was there is nothing they can do as there is no way to enforce it. Then we contacted HSE who were very understanding and they passed it on to our local council. Although we have since contacted the council who have said they have been in to speak to one of the managers and they are not going to take any action because they pay us for the whole shift (like if we work from 7am to 7pm straight we get paid for 12 hours. they would only take action if they stopped our pay for a rest break but didn't allow us to take it). We don't think this is fair but we really don't know what to do about it so we are hoping someone on here can advise us on what to do. Other people have said just leave and work somewhere else but it's not as simple for that for some of us who can't find a different job.

 

Thankyou

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Yes I know weve read that but the problem is we're not getting what that page says were entitled to so what do we do?

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You complain to the relevant authority.

Also:

Workers who can’t take or aren’t allowed rest breaks should speak to their manager informally.

 

Get more information for employees who want to raise a grievance or advice for employers on handling grievances if there is a disagreement about rest breaks.

Workers can also get advice on rest breaks from the Acas helpline.

 

If a worker can’t solve a problem, they may be able to make a claim to an employment tribunal.

 

Are you a union rep, or have access to a union?


Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

:D

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You complain to the relevant authority.

Also:

 

 

Are you a union rep, or have access to a union?

They've already said they aren't in a union. And the have complained to "the authorities" - it got them nowhere because there is no enforcement agency!

 

OP, the only way to enforce this is to take your employer to a tribunal. Which is using a hammer to crack a nut, and which, in any case, is likely to result in your breaks becoming unpaid! Nobody does the standing up for you - you have to do it yourself. Assuming that you all agree that you are willing to risk the payment for your breaks, then you need to discuss this with your managers. But you have to be willing to accept that the break won't be paid - if even one of you isn't willing to give up the money then you will be picked off one by one. There is nothing else - you can't get someone else to come in and do it for you whilst you remain anonymous - they will know that the staff have complained. They probably do already. There is only one way to organise - and that's to all join a union. But even then, it requires you to stand up for yourselves. Nobody is ever going to do it for you.

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edit: Reread your post sangie and fully agree. Its one of the big reasons to join a union.


Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

:D

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edit: Reread your post sangie and fully agree. Its one of the big reasons to join a union.

 

Of course there is no obligation for the employer to recognise the union as a negotiating agent for 20 staff, and based on the OPs original statement I doubt if they would.... perhaps there are 21 staff who are willing to join said union?

 

https://www.gov.uk/trade-union-recognition-employers

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Of course there is no obligation for the employer to recognise the union as a negotiating agent for 20 staff, and based on the OPs original statement I doubt if they would.... perhaps there are 21 staff who are willing to join said union?

 

https://www.gov.uk/trade-union-recognition-employers

 

They don't need recognition. They need membership. A union is entitled by law to represent any worker(s). This is a right in law that no employer can refuse - recognition or not.

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They don't need recognition. They need membership. A union is entitled by law to represent any worker(s). This is a right in law that no employer can refuse - recognition or not.

 

Would you be kind enough to cite that Law?

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For sangie

 

Would you be kind enough to cite that Law?

 

Cancel that. I’ve translated what you said. You are right, but only in matters of discipline and grievance. Which would only apply in this case if the employee(s) brought a grievance, and even then only as a companion and within certain restrictions. A union has no rights to negotiate, for example, pay or breaks unless recognised by the employer. (Whether voluntary or statutory)

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For sangie

 

 

 

Cancel that. I’ve translated what you said. You are right, but only in matters of discipline and grievance. Which would only apply in this case if the employee(s) brought a grievance, and even then only as a companion and within certain restrictions. A union has no rights to negotiate, for example, pay or breaks unless recognised by the employer. (Whether voluntary or statutory)

 

the union can take it to a tribunal though.


Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

:D

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For sangie

 

 

 

Cancel that. I’ve translated what you said. You are right, but only in matters of discipline and grievance. Which would only apply in this case if the employee(s) brought a grievance, and even then only as a companion and within certain restrictions. A union has no rights to negotiate, for example, pay or breaks unless recognised by the employer. (Whether voluntary or statutory)

That is not entirely correct. A union has the right to represent its members in all matters, recognised or not. There is only a legal right to accompany a member (and the restrictions are not actually as serious as you imply - they are allowed to represent their member, which is quite wide ranging) to disciplinary or grievance meetings, but that does not mean that they cannot do anything else! The employer can, of course, refuse to speak to a union representative. Most are not that foolish - all that does is ramp things up a notch unnecessarily. As pointed out, the union can represent their members to an employment tribunal, and that is not in the employers interests. And, in this case, they would not be negotiating breaks. The law is very clear that breaks, unpaid, are not optional. They would be pointing this out!

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do you think that a small employer would want to take on a Union solicitors in a case about working hours where the law is absolutely clear? The real clout would come if they ALL joined a relevant union so the employer couldnt then decide to sack the one person who did ( that would be another claim at an ET but peopel dont seem to understand one law tend to think that others arent important for them either) Once you are all in a union have a look at doing a safety audit of the workplace.

Many employers like unions when it comes to Health and Safety matters, the reps go off on courses paid for by the union and when they come back they do all of the employers H&S functions for free!

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