NHS Staff and the European Working Time Directive

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2012 Health Care Service Group Conference
16 December 2011

Workers in the NHS have always worked long hours with minimal breaks and the safeguards introduced by the European working time directive have often been either ignored completely or not enforced in many areas due to being short staffed or excessive workloads.

There is now a move from NHS organisations to finally come into line with the directive which is to be welcomed. However, in many cases this move is being used to impose changes in the shift pattern of members and includes non-paid breaks and the rescinding of long standing work agreements. These actions are resulting in cuts in pay of our members who are at work longer with no increase in pay. Some NHS organisations have instructed staff to include breaks on time sheets when they have not been taken in order to be seen to be complying with the directive.

Conference calls upon the Health Group Executive in liaison with regions and branches to work with NHS organisations via the Staff Council, Social Partnership Forums etc. in implementing the European Working Time Directive fairly across the existing workforce and ensure our members and NHS staff receive the rest they need without facing any detriment.