Three former Morrisons workers sacked for taking a cigarette break are claiming unfair dismissal at an employment tribunal.

The trio, employed as night shift workers at Morrisons' Inverurie store, were fired last October after being caught on CCTV smoking off the premises.

Morrisons rules state that leaving the premises when the shop is closed, unless in exceptional circumstances, constitutes gross misconduct. The workers claim they were unfairly dismissed because day shift workers are allowed to take smoking breaks outside the premises because of the Scottish ban on smoking in public places. They believe they have a case based on discrimination.

They are being represented by Aberdeen solicitors Quantum Claims, which said day and night shift staff should have the same rights, and any difference in treatment due to staff working hours was unlawful.

But a Morrisons spokesperson said: "For safety and security reasons night staff have to remain within our premises when the store

is closed.

"They must obey the legal requirement not to smoke inside our premises.

"Any breach is treated as gross misconduct and staff are subject to the company disciplinary procedures, which all staff are aware of."