Can we continue to work like this? A critical investigation into the impact the Working Time Regulations have had on Fleet Support Limited's ability to deliver its core business

Jarmey-Swan, Sarah (2008) Can we continue to work like this? A critical investigation into the impact the Working Time Regulations have had on Fleet Support Limited's ability to deliver its core business. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This report was undertaken as a result of a concern raised by the recognised Trade Unions of FSL that the organisation fosters a long-hours culture and is in breach of the Working Time Regulations. In light of a recent spate of accidents and 'near misses' and with an established link between long-hours working and fatigue leading to an increased risk of accidents it is in the organisation's best interest to safeguard its employees safety, health and wellbeing, as well as protecting the company from potential litigation. Main conclusions Literature and research suggests a link between long hours, fatigue and poor physical health however the impact of long hours on safety and accidents is inconclusive. Despite this, there are sufficient potentially negative effects of working long hours to cause concern. Analysis of available data in FSL makes it apparent that the limitations placed on working time by legislation are not being adhered to. This is especially apparent where daily and weekly rest breaks are concerned and especially where night working is involved. Of greater concern is the attitude of management toward their responsibility to ensure the safety of FSL employees. Although managers acknowledge the legal obligations placed upon them by the Working Time Regulations they argue that "the other dockyards (FSL's competition) do not adhere to the Working TimeRegulations, why should we!" and go on to imply that it is FSL's adherence to legalise that costs the company its competitive advantage. Of equal interest is the Trade Unions' response to FSL's sometimes obvious disregard for the legal limitations of the Working Time Regulations. Where normally the Trade Unions would vociferously announce the company's breach they appear to have remained somewhat mute on this subject. Investigation suggests that it is their membership's reliance on overtime pay and shift premia which has caused this, as raising the issue may result in the loss of this additional income to said membership. Gaps within the research The questionnaire used to establish the extent of the long-hours issue and employees general understanding of the Working Time Regulations in FSL received a poor return rate. This could potentially have skewed the data, highlighting that the issue was largely confined to Engineering and Ship Support (ESS). The results from the questionnaire used showed that the impact of the Working Time Regulations was being most felt in ESS. As such emphasis for additional research, in the form of forums and interviews, was placed on that business area. More detailed research needs to be done in the Services and Central business units to validate the results from the initial questionnaire and to ensure nothing is overlooked. The data used to analyse the excess hours worked across FSL is not strictly accurate, although it gives a good overall picture. Analysis was done based on the codes excess hours were charged to however not all excess hours are allocated a code, potentially meaning that the issue is greater that illustrated in this report. In addition, breaks are automatically deducted by the clocking system, meaning that if employees should work through their break, this is not reflected in their overall hours worked. How the Working Time Regulations affect FSL's ability to meet its five year business plan (especially in ESS), with regards to shift pattern usage, remains unestablished. In addition, any financial constraints placed upon FSL's ability to negotiate or renegotiate shift patterns remain unclear.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Portsmouth Business School > Organisational Studies and Human Resources Management
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:14
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/600

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