Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers

20 Nov


Unite Union hotel workers picket 2007

The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their staff.

Yesterday a union member, who prefers to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, emailed Hotel Organiser Shanna Reeder.

“This morning in the briefing our manager declared that its now her right to decide when we take our breaks, and that since it was a busy day no one could have one until 3pm. Everyone started at 8am, and were due to finish at 3:30pm or 4pm.”

The new law actually will only come into effect in March 2015, however it seems this misinformed employer has jumped at the opportunity to stop workers having their breaks.

Previously, National Party MP and current Minister of Labour Michael Woodhouse has said the move was aimed at providing flexibility, not taking away rights. “I think we patronise employees by pretending they cannot negotiate with their employer for a fair outcome.”

Unite Organiser Shanna Reeder says “This is clearly the outcome of this unfair anti-worker legislation. The Minister has been proven wrong on one occasion already and we know there will be many more instances of this abuse. He says employees can just go to the boss and negotiate things. This example clearly shows that there is no intention of negotiation from the employer. This is a blanket rule that was rolled out and announced to all staff. I’ll be writing to the Minister to advise him of this case and further cases that are reported to us that show that this piece of legislation is failing workers and stripping them of their dignity and rights.”

Unite Union will also be writing to the employer involved to inform them that they have breached current employment law and that they are expected to abide by current legislation at all times. If the employer does not rectify this immediately we will re-consult with the workers involved to determine what action they prefer in order to get a fair resolution.

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2 Responses to “Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers”

  1. Shanna November 20, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    We will release the letter to Michael woodhouse tomorrow on this blog. We would ask that sympathetic Mps might assist us to get answers to the questions we raise in the letter .

  2. Trevor Mills November 21, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    This has to be a case of a serious fine against the employer, a name and shame, and make this employer a strong warning to other employers who think of doing the same thing in breaching the present laws in order to jump ahead of the set date for the new laws to kick in. My support to the employees involved, and the quick action of Unite Union.

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