Late finishes and meal breaks

UNISON wrote to the CEO on 6th September 2017 about late finishes and meal breaks –you can read the letter here – incorporated into a paper for SPF.

It’s massively disappointing that since that letter, the Trust has used ARP to bring in imposed negative changes to meal breaks and late finishes.

There’s a very long timeline over these issues and we feel we only moved forwards last year, due to the strong response from our members (thank you) who took part in an indicative ballot and considerable campaigning.

If you haven’t seen the campaign films we made with staff, you can view them here: 

The Trust has recently removed the fixed meal break points – setting out they will stand crews down early within their meal break window, if at a meal break facility.

The Trust has also removed cross border protection which was put in place by the previous CEO in partnership with UNISON.

We had a written commitment in April 2017 from the Director of People and Culture, to move to IX0 by June 2017, and we are now in October.

We were also given a commitment that the staff support desk would remain in place, while we were in discussions and this was removed without anyone telling UNISON or staff in early September. The Regional Head of EOC at a recent meeting claimed that he did not know it had been removed, which is in itself quite concerning.

The Trust has also removed all access to late finishes/meal break data by claiming s.14 exemptions. We have had to rely on using the FOI Act, due to the refusal of the Trust to provide us with data. The ICO sets out in their guidance about s.14 exemptions that,

‘We would advise any public authority that is considering the application of section 14 (1) to take a step back and review the situation before making a final decision. This is because refusing a request as vexatious is particularly likely to elicit a complaint from the requester and may serve to escalate any pre-existing disputes between the respective parties.’

The letters claiming exemptions were copied to the Director of People and Culture. The first letter related to a request from June 2017. According to the Information Commissioner, anyone giving Senior agreement for a s.14 exemption to be used, would have needed to have read and understood the request, so we’re assured the decision had Executive sign off and that the full details of the data requested is known.

Due to the recent negative changes and the Trust not listing to UNISON, we are now escalating the dispute, this means we need your help. We’re planning considerable campaigning and media.

If you would like to be involved as a UNISON member, if you have any personal stories about late finishes, the impact on your home life/health and wellbeing and how you feel about the aboveplease fill in this survey.

We are also writing to the HSE and the CQC about our concerns and the Information Commissioner is assisting us with the data issues.

Please also share your concerns about late finishes and the meal break changes with the CQC. You can email them directly using this link:

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2 Responses to Late finishes and meal breaks

  1. Steve says:

    All week on nights been put on a meal break 4.5 hrs. into a 12 hour shift just because we were on station at beginning of meal break window. Makes a mockery of fixed meal break points


    • Richard says:

      Also means you were guaranteed to work at least 6 3/4 hrs without a break in the second half of shift. Planning to work over 6 hours without a rest period is a breach of the working time regulations!


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