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How many hours is enough?

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Fishoutofwater
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How many hours is enough?

Post by Fishoutofwater »

Hi all.

I work in security and it's a one man site.
There are three of us that work here and whenever one of us is on holiday or off sick, then we have an agency that covers the shifts.

Everything has been fine until recently, when the agency guard phoned in sick 4 hours before his shift started and the agency didn't bother letting us know about it.
That day I had just finished a 12.5 hour shift only to work another 6.5 hours until they found another guard.

The week later, the same happened again, another guard blew out, but luckily I only had to work an extra 2 hours.

But last week really took the biscuit. I had just finished my 12.5 hour shift and was left all day to do the day shift. A total of 24.5 hours.

A few people have said they would have just locked the gates and gone home, but you may as well wave goodbye to your job as it's supposed to be gross misconduct leaving the site unmanned.

I've voiced my displeasure to the management and they say they'll change agency to a more reliable one, but they have still booked agency guards in for the next few weeks, typically when I'm on the shift before.

I have Googled to see what laws are against working so many hours, but all I can find is the 48 hour working week agreement.
Does anyone have any advice other than to hand my notice in?
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ddlh
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Re: How many hours is enough?

Post by ddlh »

Hi there - sorry to hear of your predicament but good for you for sticking with the job. Unfortunately employers are happy to carry on regardless as long as thee work is covered!

That is why the Working Time Directive was created but is often ignored. The directive does state however;

"Workers covered by the Working Time Regulations must not be required to work more than 13 hours per day. Also individuals must not be required, against their wishes, to work an average of more than 48 hours a week".

How you get your employer to comply with that may be difficult but there is help at hand.
See attached a link to the ACAS website which should give you all your answers. You can also call them directly and tell them your issues and they will try and help.

https://www.acas.org.uk/working-hours

To speak to an adviser about your employment problem, call the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Dave
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Fishoutofwater
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Re: How many hours is enough?

Post by Fishoutofwater »

Thank you very much Dave. I will give them a call in the morning.
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Re: How many hours is enough?

Post by ohreally »

I'd certainly inform your employer that if theres any repetition of shift being uncovered you intend finishing your shift and leaving site, managements problem and they need to focus their attention on solving the staffing issues, let one of them pick up where you left off, if they dont wish to do the shift are they to be disciplined for GM? (bring it on).

Have you all considered joining a trade union if not already? Can I assume you have over 2 years service?
Fishoutofwater
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Re: How many hours is enough?

Post by Fishoutofwater »

ohreally wrote: Sun Aug 22, 2021 9:55 pm I'd certainly inform your employer that if theres any repetition of shift being uncovered you intend finishing your shift and leaving site, managements problem and they need to focus their attention on solving the staffing issues, let one of them pick up where you left off, if they dont wish to do the shift are they to be disciplined for GM? (bring it on).

Have you all considered joining a trade union if not already? Can I assume you have over 2 years service?
One of the lads is in a union. I've done security for 20 years and always presumed that security and unions don't go hand in hand.

Our manager has covered the shifts in the past, but only really covers during the week when the client is on site (to make him look good). At the weekend he makes his excuses. We also have a supervisor that switches his phone off on a Friday evening.

They have re-iterated that if we leave site without relief then it will be gross misconduct and grounds for instant dismissal.
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ScottD
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Re: How many hours is enough?

Post by ScottD »

I remember back in the late 80's, I was walking past a site in Perth on a Friday evening when the security guard shouted to me. He came up and explained that the site was shut for the weekend and he had been approached by a guy in a van that afternoon asking if he wanted cash in hand for a weekends work.
The guy said yes and he got in the van, transported from Glasgow to Perth and dumped at the building site. He was told they would be back on the Monday morning for him. The reason he shouted at me - he didn't even know where he was, he was asking what city it was and the street name.
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Fishoutofwater
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Re: How many hours is enough?

Post by Fishoutofwater »

ScottD wrote: Thu Aug 26, 2021 9:34 am I remember back in the late 80's, I was walking past a site in Perth on a Friday evening when the security guard shouted to me. He came up and explained that the site was shut for the weekend and he had been approached by a guy in a van that afternoon asking if he wanted cash in hand for a weekends work.
The guy said yes and he got in the van, transported from Glasgow to Perth and dumped at the building site. He was told they would be back on the Monday morning for him. The reason he shouted at me - he didn't even know where he was, he was asking what city it was and the street name.
Even though SIA are the gods of security now and health and safety is at a all time high, I'm sure instances like the one you mentioned are still going on today.
It really is a rubbish industry to work in.
stephen1974
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Re: How many hours is enough?

Post by stephen1974 »

I've always found it ludicrous that in professions where people are required to be alert, employers put their employees on to tiring shifts. Obviously its all about saving money but it puts peoples properties and lives at risk. What if you're driving home and fall asleep?

As well as the working time directives (hopefully you have not opted out, or worse, were forced/conned in to opting out) your employer has a duty of care in other areas and if tiredness can put you at risk, that is a problem.

Legally, the best advice has already been given, contact ACAS, but essentially this is about arming yourself with the correct knowledge before confronting your employer and being prepared for any consequences that come of that. I've left a tiring job before after a couple of near misses driving home. Its just not worth it.
Fishoutofwater
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Re: How many hours is enough?

Post by Fishoutofwater »

stephen1974 wrote: Sat Aug 28, 2021 12:43 am I've always found it ludicrous that in professions where people are required to be alert, employers put their employees on to tiring shifts. Obviously its all about saving money but it puts peoples properties and lives at risk. What if you're driving home and fall asleep?

As well as the working time directives (hopefully you have not opted out, or worse, were forced/conned in to opting out) your employer has a duty of care in other areas and if tiredness can put you at risk, that is a problem.

Legally, the best advice has already been given, contact ACAS, but essentially this is about arming yourself with the correct knowledge before confronting your employer and being prepared for any consequences that come of that. I've left a tiring job before after a couple of near misses driving home. Its just not worth it.
Excellent post Stephen, I agree with all you've said there.

I was sort of tricked in to opting out many years ago where they said I wouldn't be able to work on a certain site as I wouldn't fit in to the rota.

Luckily, I only live a 5 minute drive home.. at the moment.. but I'm relocating soon and it'll be a 40 minute drive, so hopefully I'll find something more local.

I'm definitely contacting ACAS as I thought contacting my HR department would be a good idea. I was civil and only pointed out my concerns, but they've only had the decency to reply to say they will look in to it and haven't heard anything again in 8 days.

You were right to leave that job. Your life isn't worth risking because of work.

Thanks again for the advice.
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Re: How many hours is enough?

Post by stephen1974 »

Well, you can opt back in and your employer cant really do anything about it but you will upset them no doubt. Just put it in writing and I think you have to give a months notice.

I lived about a 40 minute drive on the job I quit on. After a 9 or 10 hour workday in a very hot and humid environment your eyes do not want to stay open when driving at night.
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