All workers are entitled to a minimum 20 min break every 6 hours, and in theory she would be protected from detrimental treatment as a result of asking for this right. In practice it would be hard to prove and if boss is a bastard, he might engineer another "reason" to dismiss.
I've just been to have my nails done at a nail bar that has been set up in my town. I've been twice before but the ladies that did it previously didn't really chat much, we just talked about the nails etc.
This time I got chatting to the girl who was doing my nails. We were talking about how busy it was and she told me they were all tired from working long days. She said they all started at 9.30 and finished around 6 although on Thursdays they were sometimes there until 9 as the shops stayed open late.
She said they were always starving by then as they didn't get time to eat in the day. I asked if they got a break and she said no. She said they usually brought some sandwiches but most of the time they didn't get time to eat them. They weren't allowed to stop working to eat so the only time they managed to grab a bite was if there was a lull in customers (not often)
There were 4 girls working there and she told me all this quite quietly as her boss (a man) was just nearby. I told her they were all entitled to a break by law and said he was breaking the law by not letting them have one. She said her friends had also said that but she was too scared to ask in case she lost her job.
Her bus journey takes half an hour each way and she works Mon-Sat although next week they'll all be doing Sundays as well.
I feel terrible now and feel I should report her employers. Does anyone know who I should tell? Is the Health & Safety Executive? I wanted to go and buy them some doughnuts or something but I doubt they'd be able to eat them