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Wednesday, 14 August, 2002, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Worker compensated for illegal overtime
Shop till
Maureen Lumbard worked 12-hour days in the shop
A 51-year-old woman has been awarded compensation for working an average of 71 hours a week in a newsagent's shop.

Maureen Lumbard, worked 12-hour days almost every day at a branch of Martin's newsagents in Thetford, Norfolk, when a manager went on sick leave.

It is believed to be the first time a UK company has been prosecuted for breaking the European Union's 48-hour working week rule.

Breckland Council prosecuted Martin's, part of the Forbuoys chain, and awarded Mrs Lumbard 1,200 compensation.

Official complaint

Mrs Lumbard was a full-time sales person at the store in York Way.

"I was working all day, everyday, most of the time on my own," Mrs Lumbard said.

"I used to get there for 6am to get the papers in and was still there cashing up at 6.15pm."

She was paid 3.90 an hour and the same rate for overtime, until October 2000, when it rose to 4.10.


I have now been promised a few days off and they have said that they are going to make life better

Maureen Lumbard

Mrs Lumbard was given a salary of 12,500 in January 2001.

Mrs Lumbard, whose husband and three children died in a house fire in 1986, complained to her local council in August last year.

Breckland Council found Mrs Lumbard was working an average of 71 hours a week over a 17-week period.

Mrs Lumbard said: "I just kept covering for people on holiday, or off sick and working 70 to 79-hour weeks.

"If I had had dependants at home, I wouldn't have allowed it to happen."

Firm fined

Forbuoys admitted breaching the 1998 Working Time Regulations Act, which limits workers to an average of 48 hours a week, over a 17-week period.

The firm was fined 5,000 and ordered to pay 2,150 costs.

Mrs Lumbard, who still works for Martins, said: "I have now been promised a few days off and they have said that they are going to make life better, so I will see how things go."

Forbuoys admitted Mrs Lumbard did not have the necessary support at the store and have since replaced the area manager.

A spokesperson for the firm said: "This lapse has been rectified and our procedures changed to ensure this will not occur again."


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See also:

09 Jul 02 | Health
29 Apr 02 | Business
04 Feb 02 | Business
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