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Bit of a weird one regarding employee rights...


tomspen1546081277
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I'm completely naive to the laws around the work place, so I am just throwing this out there to see if anyone can help me. Basically I work in a foreign exchange bureau. The bureaus all have extremely bright lighting, I'm currently sat underneath 8 fluorescent tubes and five spotlights, all within an area of a few squared meters. I have to work using a computer all day, and must look out onto the street through a 2" thick bullet resistant glass window. When it goes dark and I'm sat under these spotlights, looking out onto a dark street it really strains my eyes. When I first started I used to get intense headaches and very sore eyes.

I mentioned it to my managers a while ago and they just dismissed it as me joking/causing a nuisance. But my eyesight was 6/4 not long before I started working here and since then I've had to get glasses because my vision has deteriorated so much. I'm absolutely convinced this is the reason (or at least a very large part of the reason) they've gotten so bad. How can I approach this with my employer? Can I take legal action or should I go to a union?

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Always go to a union.

They can always give advice on matters such as these.

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Always go to a union.

They can always give advice on matters such as these.

Thanks. I've just joined GMB. I'm going to try to speak to them next week.

Have a look at this in the first instance.

http://www.direct.go...ork/DG_10026668

Winston

Thanks Winston. I think really they'll be responsible under what it says there. It depends on the branch I'm working in. I need to use a computer when I'm serving a customer, but some branches are so small that I have no option but to sit on a computer for up to 6/7 hours before I get a break. If I can get away from the computer it will only be to stare outside, and even then I'm still sitting under very bright lighting. The bottom line is that my employer tells me I should never leave the counter unattended, so even if the branch is big enough to go to the back I will still be disciplined.

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there is always enviromental health they are very handy in case such as this. plus managers hate them :)

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there is always enviromental health they are very handy in case such as this. plus managers hate them :)

Yep. Might accidentally inform them that we have no warm water in most of our branches. whistling.gif

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Also they're liable to pay for your glasses. Bit late now, unfortunately. Good luck!

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Thanks. I've just joined GMB. I'm going to try to speak to them next week.

have you checked the terms and conditions?

most unions impose a minimum membership term before they'll do anything on your behalf, for example, off the top of my head unite is 8 weeks:

http://www.uniteunio...to-join-unison/

the page doesnt give the exact time but as you see it does say they impose a minimum membership, which is (no offence) to stop people like you just joining for help on one specific matter and then potentially cancelling their membership thus costing them money and abusing the system :)

Edited by andyfofo
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have you checked the terms and conditions?

most unions impose a minimum membership term before they'll do anything on your behalf, for example, off the top of my head unite is 8 weeks:

http://www.uniteunio...to-join-unison/

the page doesnt give the exact time but as you see it does say they impose a minimum membership, which is (no offence) to stop people like you just joining for help on one specific matter and then potentially cancelling their membership thus costing them money and abusing the system :)

The minimum term of membership is for when you ask to use union solicitors or specialist services.

This is to discourage Pay As You Go members who join a union when they are in trouble then leave once their problem is sorted out.

Union representatives will give advice and represent you in grievances and disciplinary hearings as soon as you become a member.

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have you checked the terms and conditions?

most unions impose a minimum membership term before they'll do anything on your behalf, for example, off the top of my head unite is 8 weeks:

http://www.uniteunio...to-join-unison/

the page doesnt give the exact time but as you see it does say they impose a minimum membership, which is (no offence) to stop people like you just joining for help on one specific matter and then potentially cancelling their membership thus costing them money and abusing the system :)

Yes I thought there would be a minimum term, but I didn't check it. I'm happy to wait. And don't worry, I'm not offended. It is the only reason I'm interested in joining the union, but I won't just cancel my membership afterwards.

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Rather than wasting your money on a union you'd be better raising a formal grievance both to your manager and to the health and safety officer, and copy it to the next level of management up as well; something will have to be done either to increase your breaks, provide you with polaroid glasses etc or just switch some lights off. If nothing much happens then speak to a specialist in employment law (a proper one, not an ambulance chaser that advertises on TV).

In the meantime are you able to turn some of the lights off when it gets dark? Presumably a bureaux de change can't be that busy between 2200-0500 anyway?

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Rather than wasting your money on a union you'd be better raising a formal grievance both to your manager and to the health and safety officer, and copy it to the next level of management up as well; something will have to be done either to increase your breaks, provide you with polaroid glasses etc or just switch some lights off. If nothing much happens then speak to a specialist in employment law (a proper one, not an ambulance chaser that advertises on TV).

In the meantime are you able to turn some of the lights off when it gets dark? Presumably a bureaux de change can't be that busy between 2200-0500 anyway?

That's the thing though. I know I will be hounded out if I try to go about it that way, which is really why I want union support. A friend of mine raised some issues regarding holidays and they're doing their best to get rid of him, monitoring him all the time, waiting for him to slip up. He's had three formal discussions and two disciplinary hearings over one time he had his mobile on the desk. The lights are all on the same circuit so we can't just switch off the spotlights etc. I don't work nights, but I do work late (3pm til 11pm) and it winter it goes dark around 4pm, so I'm spending most of my shift looking out into darkness.

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