9th December 2017 at 1:22 pm #619
I work very long hours, sometimes a 60 hour week. At the end of the day I’m just too knackered to do anything else. It just goes on and on. Is there anything I can do?
10th December 2017 at 12:47 pm #660
My name’s Dave Turnbull, I’m a Regional Officer with responsibility for the hospitality sector within Unite the union. (http://www.unitetheunion.org)
We represent workers in restaurants and hotels. It’s a real ‘work until you drop’, long hours culture.
But the law is clear about this. If you work in a kitchen or in hospitality, it’s illegal for an employer to make you work more than 48 hours a week on average over a 17 week period.
So if the place where you work makes you work more than that, they’re breaking the law.
Unfortunately, most employers in the hospitality industry get round these rules.
The law says that you can sign an agreement to opt out of the rules, which then allows you to work longer. The underhand way of getting you to agree this without realising is to put something in the contract to say you can work more than 48 hours.
So if you’re in hospitality and you go back to your contract and have a look, there’s a good chance that when you signed the contract, you agreed to work more than 48 hours without knowing it. If you’ve also signed a salary based contract it could mean you are working lots of extra hours for free.
The law says you can give written notice to opt back in – so it may be in your interest to do so.
If that has happened to you, if you work in a kitchen, a hotel, a restaurant or anything in the hospitality industry, get in touch with Unite and we’ll see if we can help you.
You can find out more here or email me on email@example.com.
Another thing you can do is – if you work very long hours but you’re not paid by the hour, keep track of your hours and check your pay works out to be at least the minimum wage.
If it’s not, we might be able to help you get paid at least the minimum wage for every single hour you work.
I’ve written more about this here.
In hospitality, overwork is a big issue that we’ve got to deal with.
We have publicised the case of Nathan Laity. It was terrible. He was a chef at the Tate Modern. He worked 27 consecutive 14-hour shifts, got blood poisoning from an untreated case of tonsillitis, and died in his sleep. The coroner’s verdict was that his body’s defences had just broken down in exhaustion. He was only 23. He was quite a talented chef and obviously very keen to prove himself.
But overwork is common. We did a survey of 87 people working in pubs, restaurants and hotels. 44 per cent say they worked between 48 and 60 hours a week, 79 per cent said that they‘d had an accident or near miss due to fatigue, and 69 per cent reported that their hours impacted their health.
- This reply was modified 2 years ago by Dave Turnbull.
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