Union leaders attack decision to extend flexible hours for truck drivers
Union leaders attacked measures to extend the flexible hours for truck drivers amid the current shortage of workers in the sector.
Unite said the maximum number of hours drivers can drive, which is due to end on Sunday, will be extended until the end of October.
Ministers should consider extending the change into the new year, Unite said.
General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is yet another instinctive response to a crisis that has been unfolding for nearly 20 years – and the responsibility lies entirely with employers and their willing partners, the government.”
“Years of suppressing driver salaries and attacks on their working conditions have brought us to where we are today.
“Far from tackling the current crisis, this latest extension of drivers’ hours will increase work pressure and, consequently, further endanger public safety on the roads. This opportunity will end in failure.
Unite National Officer Adrian Jones said: “The government’s response to the truck driver crisis has been to lengthen driving hours, reduce training requirements, dilute testing and weaken the license required to drive a tank truck. This is a very dangerous cocktail and will only decrease safety on UK roads.
“The government is still not addressing the reasons the industry is bleeding truck drivers. By making the remaining drivers work longer, they may even force more drivers to pull away. “
A spokesperson for the Department of Transport said: “The package we have put in place to alleviate shortages of heavy truck drivers do not compromise safety.
“The temporary relaxation of the rules on driver schedules allows heavy truck drivers to make slightly longer trips, but this should only be used when necessary and safely, and changes to the process of test will not change the level of driving required to drive a heavy truck. “