Business group Logistics UK is dismayed by the announcement of the continued relaxation of drivers’ hours legislation until 8 August 2021.
It governs the length of time which HGV drivers are legally expected to work and James Firth, the organisation’s Head of Road Freight Regulation Policy, explains the announcement will heap more pressure on drivers who are already stretched to the limit to deliver for UK PLC.
“Government has ignored the industry in deciding to relax these road safety laws,” he said, “and it will be the hard-pressed HGV drivers on our roads who have to carry the burden.
“Throughout the pandemic, the UK’s professional drivers have kept our shops, homes and businesses supplied with everything needed to keep the economy going, but the current workforce cannot be expected to fill the gaps created by the current skills shortage. The road freight industry vehemently opposed the extension of these vital road safety laws, yet the government has ignored the will of those who will be most affected by the changes.”
“The logistics sector has been experiencing a significant shortage of drivers for a number of years, but this situation has been exacerbated by factors including the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, which has seen many EU workers return to their home countries.
“The industry needs a longer-term solution to the recruitment of drivers – including temporary visas for EU workers to cover the gaps while new recruits can be trained, and interest free loans for those wishing to enter the market – not a stop-gap measure that will heap more pressure on existing workers.
“The relaxation of drivers hours should only be used in an emergency situation, when a foreseeable end date can be identified – or is the government suggesting that the current shortage of drivers will be resolved by 8 August?”