Tony Lloyd MP condemns JD Sports for cutting rest break frequency
Date published: 23 September 2019
Aerial shot of JD Sports Distribution Centre
Tony Lloyd, MP for Rochdale, has joined retail and distribution workers’ union Usdaw in condemning JD Sports for the company’s cuts in rest breaks.
Over 600 JD Sports workers submitted a grievance about the company changing rest breaks for workers on 12-hour night shifts. Union officials have met with the company, who have rejected the case made by Usdaw, and insisted on continuing the cuts in rest breaks.
The number of breaks during a typical 12-hour night shift has reduced from three to two, although the overall time provided for breaks has not changed.
According to Usdaw, the sports retailer will consider reinstating three breaks on Monday 23 September, whilst Councillor John Blundell, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Business, Skills and Employment at Rochdale Borough Council, will bring forward a motion supporting the union.
Mr Lloyd said: “As the biggest private sector employer in Rochdale, and with over 600 of their workers submitting a grievance, I find it astonishing that management have refused to work with Usdaw outside of the grievance procedure to work together to resolve this issue.
“JD Sports are asking their workforce to work from 6pm at night until 6am in the morning with just two breaks. The Health and Safety Executive has produced very clear guidelines which highlight that fatigue-related risks and accidents are higher towards the end of a shift and at night.
“I've written to Stephanie Boardman, the HR Business Partner at JD Sports, to ask what consideration has been given to the Health and Safety Executive guidance on managing shift work in the decision they have taken to reduce breaks, and to introduce shifts of more than 12 hours long.
“I also urge JD Sports to engage with Usdaw outside of the grievance procedure to work together to resolve this issue, and recognise the union for its employees.”
Usdaw Divisional Officer Mike Aylward said: “It is disgraceful that management have not listened to the significant health and safety concerns of staff alongside Health and Safety Executive advice. They are simply wrong to force staff to work from 6pm to 6am with just two breaks. People genuinely fear for their safety in conditions that will result in crushing fatigue. Such exploitative employment practices belong in 1819 not 2019.
“Too many companies are treating workers like disposable assets with little or no consultation when making changes to work patterns.
“Staff at JD Sports distribution are joining Usdaw for an independent voice and to say enough is enough. The battle continues; we will be consulting staff about our next move and looking at enforcement options to improve the terms and conditions of employment at JD Sports.
“Usdaw is seeking full recognition from the company, so that we can work with the business to resolve these grievances.”
JD Sports did not respond to an invitation to comment.
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