Monday, 18 June 2007

English Smoking ban an excuse to ban cigarette breaks

A report is warning, that many employers, may be planning to use the July 1 smoking ban in England, as an excuse to crack down on workers taking cigarette breaks.

It was warned that such a move could spark disputes and/or result in desperate employees being forced to secretly smoke in the workplace.

The report, by law advisors Consult GEE, surveyed employers - apparently over a 3rd are planning to use July’s ban on smoking in public places as an excuse to ban cigarette breaks.

Stuart Chamberlain of Consult GEE warned:

"Employees will struggle to fight any bans on their smoking breaks because they are not entitled to them. It could be that they try to claim a breach of the Working Time Regulations, which grants staff working for a minimum of six hours a day 20 minutes break. However, it will prove difficult for an employee to succeed in the employment tribunal with such a claim."

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) felt that banning smoke breaks could be regarded as "excessive".

It would seem draconian for an employer to attempt to stop an employee having a smoke in the breaks they are actually entitled to.

Also one has to wonder what the likely resulting impact on customer relations would be when employees become less relaxed when dealing with any customer – let alone a difficult one.

Air Travel is Green 'Scapegoat'

The British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) has presented a report to the UK Government, warning that air transport is ‘being used as a scapegoat’ for anthropomorphic global warming.

They say "half truths and untruths" (very diplomatic - misdirection and lies to the rest of us) are making air passengers feel guilty when they have no need to.

BALPA says air travel accounts for no more than 3% of the world’s human generated carbon dioxide emissions.

Some environmentalists are claiming that this will increase significantly because of a greater number of flights, but BALPA disagree with this estimating a possible rise of up to 6% by 2050. They also pointed out that the latest jets were more carbon efficient than high-speed trains over long distances.

Plane manufacturers like Boeing are working on more fuel efficient airliners all the time it makes good financial sense.

BALPA Chairman Mervyn Granshaw said:
"Our report clearly shows that technological advances now being researched will cut aircraft emissions still further,"

"It would be inappropriate and premature to restrict air transport at this time. “

"The damage that would be done not only to our industry but to tourism and to the economies of developing nations would be enormous."
and he pointed out, air travel had become, "an easy target".

Weather you accept the theory of Anthropocentric global warming, or not, it must be clear to even the most ardent infra-green that, on the basis of saving costs alone, it makes good business sense to increase the fuel efficiency of passenger jets as much as possible.

If you are really that concerned about UK carbon emissions, then you need to look first at power stations, over the last 6 years, carbon emissions from coal fired power stations have increased by 6%, to reach 178m tonnes.

There is the effectively zero carbon, nuclear power option available right now. The French are on this route. This idea is even backed by James Lovelock the British environmental scientist who postulated the Gaia Theory. He says:
"There is no alternative but nuclear fission until fusion energy and sensible forms of renewable energy arrive as a truly long-term provider. Nuclear energy is free of emissions and independent of imports from what will be a disturbed world."

With a concerted push it is not beyond the bounds of possibility to be producing most of the UK’s electricity by nuclear power within 15 years.