Rule Change To Allow EU Hauliers More Time For Deliveries
The transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced plans to allow foreign lorry drivers more time to make deliveries in the UK, The Guardian reports. As the country faces an ongoing HGV driver shortage, the new rules will allow hauliers to make an unlimited number of deliveries and drop-offs within a two-week period.
The measures are designed to be temporary, and if they are approved, they should come into effect by the end of the year and stay in place for six months. They are intended to boost the pre-Christmas trading season, and alleviate the supply chain pressures which have already led to empty shelves in supermarkets, and fuel station closures.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has not welcomed the government’s proposals, however. In a press release, they argue that allowing foreign hauliers to work in unlimited two-week blocks (a process known as cabotage), UK companies will lose work, and incentives to improve working conditions for UK drivers will be weakened.
In a statement, the RHA’s manager for policy and public affairs, Rod McKenzie said: “This proposal undermines the good work done already on training, testing of drivers and the improved pay and conditions we have started to see for drivers.”
MacKenzie continued, “These two measures proposed by the RHA (and others) would make a difference to the availability of lorry drivers for UK companies, it is a shame that the UK government chosen not to proceed in a timely way on these measures and instead decided to offshore UK haulage work to unaccountable operators from outside the UK”.
The RHA would prefer to see measures aimed at training and retaining UK workers, and the process made easier for retired or lapsed UK drivers to return to the industry. They point out that UK drivers are continually assessed for compliance with safety standards, but under the cabotage proposals, there would be no effective control of safety standards.
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