Significant victory for harbour pilots
Nicholas Siddall has successfully appeared for over 100 union backed harbour pilots in a claim under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (“WTR”) against Associated British Ports.
The Claimants are harbour pilots on the Humber estuary and they contended that the rota system operated by the Respondent was a breach of the requirements of the WTR in that it did not guarantee the pilots adequate rest breaks nor did it allow them their required 11 hours rest between shifts. They also contended that the demands on their time were such that all of their time "on call" was to be viewed as working time.
The arguments of the parties assessed the derogation under Regulation 21 WTR and whether the Respondent was able to satisfy the Employment Tribunal that there was a need for continuity of service such as to allow the Respondent not to comply with the WTR. Significant issues existed as to the Employment Tribunal’s ability to award compensation for a breach of the WTR.
The Employment Tribunal accepted the arguments of the Claimants that the derogation did not apply between acts of pilotage such that the Respondent was in breach of the WTR. It also made an award of compensation to the Claimant in the absence of any evidence of financial loss.
The Respondent has already indicated its intenton to appeal which may give the opportunity to the EAT to consider the scope of the Regulation 21 derogation and the power to award compensation under Regulation 30.