• Robert Spicer

Working time: rest breaks: opting out

WORKING TIME

Rest periods

Opt-out

Case R (on the application of the Fire Brigades Union v South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority (2018) Morning Star, September 7, High Court

Facts S introduced a CPC shift system at four fire stations in March 2012. The system involved 96 hours continuous duty with compensatory rest if crew members were called out at night. Anyone who volunteered for the system had to sign an opt-out from regulation 4 of the Working Time Regulations (WTR). Those who volunteered received extra pay. The FBU applied for judicial review, arguing that the CPC system breached regulations 6 and 10 of WTR.

Regulation 6 of WTR states that a night worker’s hours should not exceed eight hours in each 24 hour period. Workers cannot opt-out, nor bring tribunal proceedings for a breach of the regulation.

Regulation 10 states that workers are entitled to a rest period of not less than 11 consecutive hours in each 24 hour period of work.

Decision 1. Regulation 6 had been breached but the court would not grant relief because to do so would be to declare that the conduct of S was criminal.

  1. In relation to regulation 10, the position of S was untenable. The breach was blatant and obvious. The court granted a declaration that the CPC shift system was contrary to the rights of firefighters under regulation 10.



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