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#longestlunch: celebrate the longest day with a proper break

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8 June 2018

The NUJ’s newspapers and agencies industrial council (NAIC) has called on chapels everywhere to organise lunch breaks outside offices and newsrooms on Thursday June 21, the longest day of the year, and to use social media to draw attention to the importance of taking breaks from work.

The initiative follows on from a motion from the Johnston Press group chapel, adopted at this year’s delegate meeting, which highlighted the success of an event organised in Leeds last June to remind members of their legal right to breaks during the working day and the health benefits of having proper lunch breaks.

Chapel members at the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post said that many journalists frequently work through legal break times, eating sandwiches or snacks at their desks.

Last June, they left the newsroom to enjoy a picnic beside the River Aire, and ate cake supplied from chapel funds, but retreated to a conference room when it started to rain.

Georgina Morris, mother of chapel, said:

“An invitation sent to members and non-members highlighted the legal right of workers to take an uninterrupted break of 20 minutes during any shift of six hours or more. It also reminded them about their contracted hours and how the company’s standard shifts should include a 30-minute break.”

In April, the delegate meeting congratulated the joint chapel for this “Longest Day Lunch” initiative. Now NAIC has decided to call on chapels elsewhere to organise similar events this month and to post pictures of the event using the hashtag #longestlunch.

Steve Bird, father of chapel at the Financial Times who represents the newspapers and agencies sector on the NUJ’s national executive council, said:

"At a time when journalists are working harder and more intensively than ever, often spending lunch breaks at their computers, this initiative is a great way of reminding all staff of the importance of taking a break from desks and screens. We would like to see scores of pictures online and hope the occasion can be marked by NUJ chapels throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland"
"NUJ activists should follow the example set in Leeds to organise and promote a picnic outside of the office on the longest day of the year. Hopefully, this will provide an extra reason to get out of the office and will draw attention to the central issues of work stress and long hours."

Tags: , lunch, #longestlunch, health and safety, breaks, Yorkshire Post, yorkshire evening post, Johnston Press group chapel, leeds branch, naic, newspapers and agencies industrial council