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Fire crew not getting the minimum rest breaks

The Fire Brigade Union has successfully obtained a declaration that a certain shift pattern breached the right to a daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours in each 24 hour period of working, under the Working Time Regulations.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority operated a shift pattern at some fire stations known as "close proximity crewing" (CPC). CPC entailed a four-day shift, being on call at night. This all counted as working time, amounting to a continuous period of 96 hours. The Authority sought to rely on an exemption for shift workers changing from one shift pattern to another but the court disagreed, finding that CPC involved one continuous shift and that, furthermore, the necessary compensatory rest had not been offered.

The case highlights the circumstances in which, unusually, judicial review proceedings could be brought in respect of private law employment rights.

If you wish to discuss this further, contact us.

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