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Working Time: Rest Breaks

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Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby John Webb » Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:55 pm

One of my fellow trustees was sent this summary of a recent legal ruling, as published in a Daniel Barnett Employment Law Bulletin (undated):
Working Time: Rest Breaks

Thanks to Dr John McMullen of Wrigleys Solicitors LLP for preparing this case summary.

Is an employer entitled to meet the 20 minute rest break requirement for workers under the Working Time Regulations by aggregating breaks of a shorter duration?

No, held the EAT in Crawford v Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd.

Regulation 12 of the Working Time Regulations 1998 provides for a rest break of not less than 20 minutes if a worker's daily working time is more than 6 hours. Regulation 21(f) provides that a worker in Railway Transport does not enjoy the protection of Regulation 12. Instead, under Regulation 24(a), the worker is entitled to an equivalent period of compensatory rest.

Mr Crawford worked as a relief cover signalman at various signal boxes in the South East. All (save one) boxes were single manned. Although Mr Crawford was not always busy, he was required to continuously to monitor and to be on call to do things when trains were going through.

He could in practice, if he wished, take short 5 minute breaks from his workstation which would amount together to well in excess of 20 minutes over the shift as a whole. But on day shifts it was not possible to have a continuous 20 minute break. The employer argued it could aggregate these shorter periods in order to meet the 20 minute break requirement. Indeed, it argued, this was more beneficial, from a health and safety point of view.

Relying on Hughes v The Corps of Commissionaires Management Ltd, the EAT held that the employer's system was not compliant. In Hughes the Court of Appeal held that there should be a proper uninterrupted break from work during a rest period and, so far as possible, that break should last at least 20 minutes. Otherwise it would not be an equivalent period of compensatory rest. It was important that, during the rest period, the worker was free from work.

Accordingly, as there was no opportunity on Mr Crawford's shifts for a single continuous break from work of 20 minutes, Network Rail were in breach of their obligations under the Working Time Regulations.
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby Chris Osment » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:11 pm

Interesting. What - if anything - would there be to stop NR simply including the '20 mins compensatory break' at either the start or end of a shift? It would still be a rest period "within the shift", but clearly not within the spirit of the intention for the signaller to have a break at some point part-way though the shift.
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby Danny252 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:39 pm

Both the HSE and ACAS websites state that the break should not be at the start or end of the shift. I can't find any explicit wording to that effect in the regulations themselves, but I wouldn't be surprised if there is a relevant court ruling.
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:22 pm

If he were allowed to switch out for 20 minutes that would presumably meet both the letter and spirit. This might be feasible in some locations. No doubt this will apply to remaining gate boxes too. However it could all be upset by late running etc, and I can just the press reaction to train announcements along the lines of "South Eastern regret the delay which is due to the signalman being on his lunch break".


If he's supposed to be off duty, he is presumably allowed to leave his box during this equivalent period of compensatory rest, as long as it only takes him 20 mins to visit some nearby sandwich shop? Maybe the announcement would be "...due to the signalman being out to lunch"?

Things could be worse ...
https://www.oneindia.com/india/no-toile ... 86312.html

I can only see legal rulings like this accelerating the move to heavily manned ROCs at the expense closing the remaining small 1-man boxes.
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby Signal-sighter » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:36 pm

At least one are on Network Rail (somewhere in Wessex Route I believe) has introduced peripatetic a meal relief turn travelling round a group of single manned boxes giving breaks.
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby Peter Gibbons » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:33 pm

I happen to know of the person involved in this case, so it would not be appropriate for me to comment.

However there is a bit about this case in the RMT News January 2018 edition which can be read on-line. It is on page 7.

https://issuu.com/rmtunion/docs/211897_ ... 5/57312173
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby John Hinson » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:21 am

It really makes me wonder how I am still alive! Twelve hour shifts for six days and a double-round on Sunday or Monday - that's a double shift for one of the two involved, with only eight hours break between turns for both. Not a day off for weeks on end.

It really makes me feel sorry for the stress people suffer today.

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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:33 am

John Hinson wrote:It really makes me wonder how I am still alive!


Must be the exercise you got pulling all those heavy levers.
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby Fast Line Floyd » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:45 pm

I wonder how much leave NR owe me? Seriously I suspect the NR will implement 6 hour shifts utilising the existing relief staff and argue that the staff have had a pay rise!
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby S&TEngineer » Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:10 pm

John Hinson wrote:It really makes me wonder how I am still alive! Twelve hour shifts for six days and a double-round on Sunday or Monday - that's a double shift for one of the two involved, with only eight hours break between turns for both. Not a day off for weeks on end.
John


Me too. Same on the S&T side. Did that for 9 years solid.
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby LlaniGraham » Thu Feb 1, 2018 3:07 pm

I would suggest that the time the people above are mentioning the Laws of the land were rather different to now. Whether you like it or not an employer has to abide by modern, current Laws.

And not a good time for NR, since they have just settled out of Court on my injury claim against them.
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby John Hinson » Thu Feb 8, 2018 5:34 am

LlaniGraham wrote:I would suggest that the time the people above are mentioning the Laws of the land were rather different to now. Whether you like it or not an employer has to abide by modern, current Laws.

Of course! We both understand that. I think what we are both trying to say is that those "modern, current laws" are a bit namby-pamby for all circumstances.

Unfortunately in the "modern" world flexibility is not a word. There are a lot of perks that come with the job and in recognition of that I didn't mind (for example) entering an icy cold box on a Monday morning and lighting a fire which might not warm up to the "legal" temperature until half-way through the day. We didn't call it team-work in those days but there was much more of it then than since those words were adopted.

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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Thu Feb 8, 2018 9:03 am

John Hinson wrote:We didn't call it team-work in those days but there was much more of it then than since those words were adopted.

John


Yes, you'd have to be in a double-manned box to call it teamwork!
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby Is Line Clear » Thu Feb 8, 2018 5:00 pm

John Hinson wrote:
LlaniGraham wrote:I would suggest that the time the people above are mentioning the Laws of the land were rather different to now. Whether you like it or not an employer has to abide by modern, current Laws.

Of course! We both understand that. I think what we are both trying to say is that those "modern, current laws" are a bit namby-pamby for all circumstances.

Unfortunately in the "modern" world flexibility is not a word. There are a lot of perks that come with the job and in recognition of that I didn't mind (for example) entering an icy cold box on a Monday morning and lighting a fire which might not warm up to the "legal" temperature until half-way through the day. We didn't call it team-work in those days but there was much more of it then than since those words were adopted.

John


It might not fit into current, but lighting the stove in a cold SB on a preserved (or probably any other) railway would often mean that 'box didn't warm up by halfway and ice patterns stayed on windows. Still, the stove could be usually coaxed into sufficient (glowing red) heat to get the all important kettle boiling and then to cook on top of stove. Meat and veg cooked well. Downside that I remember was once enough heat got up into the roof, flies would come out of hibernation and you needed to keep lid on your stew to stop them adding themselves to your cooking.

The art was that at end of shift, if it was days only, to damp down the stove correctly so that next bloke only had to take out the ash and stick poker down the middle and his fire would spring into life again. And hope that previous man had done the same for you!!!
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Thu Feb 8, 2018 11:53 pm

Is Line Clear wrote:
It might not fit into current, but lighting the stove in a cold SB on a preserved (or probably any other) railway would often mean that 'box didn't warm up by halfway and ice patterns stayed on windows. Still, the stove could be usually coaxed into sufficient (glowing red) heat to get the all important kettle boiling and then to cook on top of stove. Meat and veg cooked well. Downside that I remember was once enough heat got up into the roof, flies would come out of hibernation and you needed to keep lid on your stew to stop them adding themselves to your cooking.

The art was that at end of shift, if it was days only, to damp down the stove correctly so that next bloke only had to take out the ash and stick poker down the middle and his fire would spring into life again. And hope that previous man had done the same for you!!!


The other downside to damping down the stove was that if you didn't do it right, there sometimes wasn't a box there when the next bloke rolled up for his shift.
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