Councillors back smoke break ban

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Coming to a council near you soon and if you are a council worker and a smoker beware...

Breckland, Norfolk: Council workers who are smokers will have to clock in and out when they take a cigarette break and won't be paid for the time off.

Proposals to make Breckland Council workers clock off when they go for a cigarette break have been backed by the council.

Therefore, staff at Breckland Council will not be paid in future for the time they take to have a cigarette after the proposals were given the go-ahead. A meeting of the full council has approved the measure and thus it will be implemented soon.

The Breckland Area encompasses Thetford, Dereham, Swaffham, Attleborough and Watton in the county of Norfolk, UK.

Simon Clark, from Smokers' lobby group Forest, said earlier that everyone was entitled to a break during work but the council said the move was aimed at making the issue of smoke breaks fairer for individuals who did not smoke.

Staff will have to, so it is understood, clock in and out when they step outside the town hall and other council places of work for a cigarette break. While I must say that I find this fair I can also see that that will be going down like a lead balloon with many a member of staff who is a smoker.

William Nunn, leader of the Conservative-run council, said: "We are not trying to stop smoking... what we are saying is when people go for a cigarette they should do it in their own time."

Simon Clark of Forest said: "Are they going to introduce clocking in and off for people who go on the internet, on Facebook, or people who want to have a cup of coffee?

"I am sure there are some smokers who abuse the situation and go out too often but if that is happening that is a failure of management."

What I would like to ask it how this is going to be policed with regards to manual workers who do not work in an office environment or a building most of the time is rather another question.

Let's take the road sweeper who stops our of his little machine and stands by it for five minutes to have a smoke, every half hour. How is that going to be checked? Will he have to have a time clock in the cab and who is going to check whether he is using it?

Good luck with sorting that one out.

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