SHP - 19




(the "Company")



(the "Union")




SOLE ARBITRATOR: J. F. W. Weatherill




J.H. Clark

M. McLenaghan and others




W.H. Barton

C. Laroche

M.P. Baxter



A hearing in this matter was held in Montreal on April 10, 1975.




The Organization claims the Company violated Rules 1.10 and 28.6 of Wage Agreement No. 16, when several electricians had their hours of work changed from 0730 hours to 1530 hours with a 20-minute paid lunch period to 0730 hours to 1600 hours with a one-half hour unpaid lunch period.


The Organization claims the Company violated Rules 1.10 and 28.6 of Wage Agreement No. 16, when eight electricians had their hours of work changed from 0730 hours to 1530 hours with a 20-minute paid lunch period to 0730 hours to 1600 hours with a one-half hour unpaid lunch period.


The employees in question, prior to March 6, 1972, were assigned to a day shift consisting of eight consecutive hours, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with 20 minutes off for lunch without deduction in pay. On March 6, 1972 the employees’ hours were changed to 7:30 am. to 4:00 p.m. with 30 minutes off for Lunch without pay. The Organization alleges the Company violated Rules 1.10 and 28.6 which read as follows:

Rule 1.10

Where three shifts are employed, with the exception of day shift on freight car repair tracks, a meal period of twenty minutes shall be allowed without deduction in pay, commencing during the fifth hour of duty for all three shifts. By agreement between representatives of the railways and the recognized representatives of the employees, it may be arranged to extend the meal period to thirty minutes or to one hour for the employees on the first shift – without pay – if a majority of them on the first shift so desire.

Rule 28.6

Should an employee subject to this agreement believe he has been unjustly dealt with, or that any of the provisions of this agreement have been violated, he shall present his alleged grievance to his immediate supervisor for adjustment. If not so adjusted, and he wishes to have the matter progressed, he shall present it in writing to the authorized Local Union Representative(s) within ten calendar days from the date of the alleged grievance, outlining all pertinent details and the date of the alleged grievance.


The gist of the Union’s claim is that the employees whose working hours were changed from those of an eight-hour shift with a twenty-minute paid lunch period to those of an eight-and-one-half hour shift, with a thirty minute unpaid lunch period were really working overtime during the last thirty minutes of their shift. The Union seeks payment to the grievors on this account. At the hearing, the Company took the position that since this compensation was not explicitly claimed, it could not be the subject of an award. In my view, however, the claim was not advanced merely as an exercise in interpretation, but had as one of its goals that the employees concerned be compensated for any loss of pay to which they may have been entitled. Such a claim is, I think, implicit in the dispute, and if the Union were to succeed, I would award that the employees concerned be paid.

Until the change complained of, it appears that the employees concerned worked at points where three eight-hour shifts were worked, the shift hours being 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; 4:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight, and 12:00 midnight to 8:00 a.m. On a schedule of this sort, if employees are to put in the eight hours which, under the collective agreement, constitutes a days’ work and if, as they must, they are to have a lunch break, then clearly, on a continuous schedule such as this, employees must receive a paid lunch break. The length of such a paid lunch break is established, for operations such as this, in Rule 1.10.

The collective agreement did not, at the material times, contemplate a paid lunch period for all employees, although subsequent events have altered the situation. Where operations are not of the continuous sort described above, then hours of work may be scheduled so as to provide, in the case of "day work" such as that in question here, for eight hours work between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. That is made clear by Rule 1.7. The hours for the employees in question were set in conformity with this rule, that is, they were from 7:30 am. to 4:00 p.m. That allowed for eight hours of work and for a one-half hour lunch break. On a shift such as this, the requirement with respect to lunch breaks is set out in Rule 1.11, namely, that "a meal period of between thirty minutes and one hour shall be allowed on the day shift between the hours of 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m.". There was no provision that such a meal period be paid for, nor was it contemplated that such a day work schedule would in some way necessarily involve overtime.

Perhaps the fundamental question was whether the Company was entitled to alter the working hours of these employees from a three-shift schedule to a day work schedule. The answer to this is, in my view, clear from a consideration of Rule 1.8, which provides that "the starting time for any portion of the staff working on a one or two shift basis at any point may be arranged to commence within the limits named", and thus suggests the possibility of such variations; and more particularly of Rule 1.9, which provides that "the starting time for each employee shall be fixed and shall not be changed without at least twenty-four hours’ notice". That article clearly expresses the Company’s right to change employees’ hours, subject to the giving of notice. The right of an employer to alter shift hours, or (subject to seniority provisions or other express limitations) to move employees from one shift or type of shift to another, has been upheld in many arbitration cases. See, for example, the Exolon case 18 L.A.C. 26.

That the employees concerned were adversely affected by the change seems clear: their new schedule kept them at work over a longer period of time, and the new quitting time may have been much less convenient. The issue which I must determine, however, is whether the Company was entitled to make the change it did. For the reasons given above, it must be my conclusion that the Company was so entitled.

Accordingly, the grievance must be dismissed.

DATED at Toronto this 26th day of April, 1975.

(sgd.) J. F. W. Weatherill