Posted by: Annoyed | 2009-02-18

Change to working hours

My dilemma is similar to Annie’ s. Our company has also decided that they will be extending our working hours. It has always been a 9 hour day (from 8-5) with a 1 hour lunch. (flexi hours permitted –  either from 7-4, 8-5 or 9-6) They now want to change it to a 9 hour day, excluding lunch. If we wish to take lunch we have to work a 10 hour day. Are they permitted to do this? I don’ t think it’ s fair to expect us to work for 9 hours without any form of break, but some employees live quite a distance from work and make use of the 7-4 working hours, and if they do take a lunch break, they will be put slap bang in the middle of peak hour traffic, and their travelling time will increase by 2-3 hours a day. Not to mention the additional expense of sitting in traffic.
Furthermore, very few of the employee’ s have a contract in place. I have requested mine numerous times, to no avail. Every time I was told they were working on it, but as of yet I don’ t have one. I have been here for over a year now. Other employees longer –  with no contract either.
So basically my question is –  are they allowed to change our hours by just informing us and not negotiating it with us, how do we prove what our terms and conditions were if we never received a contract (although we are required to sign in and out and provide timesheets). If they change our hours, do they have to compensate us for it.? Are we allowed to refuse our new terms and conditions? Sorry this email is so long –  it’ s a bit difficult to get it all down quickly.

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Our expert says:
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Change to working hours can only take place after consultation. If there has been no consultation it can be referred to the CCMA or to the Bargaining council concerned.

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