Speaking at Usdaw’s annual conference, Dave McCrossen – Usdaw Deputy General Secretary says:
“It's essential for the wellbeing of workers that they are clear on when they are required to work and, importantly, that their shifts do not change unexpectedly.
“Our members have commitments and responsibilities outside of work, commitments and responsibilities that cannot just be altered at the whim of their employer. Sudden changes to working hours are more than just a minor inconvenience. They can also have a substantial financial impact for the worker, something which the employer cannot
and should not ignore.
“For example, it won't always be possible for workers to change travel and childcare arrangements. Where it is possible, changing plans often comes with higher costs. This is something that can cause real hardship at a time when we are experiencing an historic fall in living standards. Unexpected and unagreed changes to shift patterns can also detrimentally impact workers' mental health.
“Being required to work at different times to those previously rostered, causes stress and anxiety, as carefully laid plans and timetables are disrupted. It is clear that employers must consider their employees' work-life balance. Out of work commitments have to be taken into account, rather than being an afterthought or forgotten altogether.
“That's why the Union continues to campaign against one-sided flexibility that only benefits the employer, placing unfair pressure on workers and in many of our agreements, we have put clear provisions in place to ensure that workers are given adequate notice of shift patterns.
“It's therefore crucial that work rotas are set out in consultation with employees and that the agreed processes for work rotas are followed in all instances, with employees being given proper notice of any changes that may need to occur. Where this isn't happening the business must be challenged, both at a local and national level.
“As a Union we believe that the needs of the business do not supersede the needs of the worker. Poor employment practices and one-sided flexibility have no place in the workplace.
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with around 360,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion