Lorry drivers who are members of Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, will stage a protest at the Department of Transport tomorrow (September 17) over growing fears that the government will weaken or suspend the rules governing lorry driving hours in the event of a no deal Brexit.

WHEN: Tuesday 17 September at 14:00
WHERE: Great Minister House, 33 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 4DR

The existing driving regulations limit drivers to 56 hours of driving a week (including up to 10 hours a day) there are also strict rules about breaks and rest periods.

Regulations could be weakened

However, if the government leaves the European Union without a deal, then the government has not denied that it will suspend the driving regulations in order to try to keep goods moving.

Unite believes that any relaxation would be profoundly dangerous, for lorry drivers and all road users. A survey of Unite members employed as lorry drivers, which was released last month found most were suffering from exhaustion due to long hours.

Grim Reaper

As part of the demonstration the Unite members will be joined by the Grim Reaper as lorry drivers believe that they will be on a ‘highway to hell’ if driving regulations are relaxed or suspended.

Despite the government apparently upping its no deal planning Unite still has not been contacted about how drivers will be supported during a no deal Brexit, which will inevitably cause huge delays and disruption.

Shapps letter

Last month Unite wrote to Grant Shapps the secretary of state for transport about its concerns over the lack of consultation on no deal Brexit planning and particularly the possibility of the suspension of driving regulations, but has not as yet received a response.

The demonstration coincides with the Road Haulage Association’s Love the Lorry Week (September 16-20). Unite believes the focus of the week should be on lorry drivers, as without them the industry would collapse.

No deal Brexit

Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “Lorry drivers are becoming increasingly alarmed that a no deal Brexit will result in driving regulations being suspended or weakened.

“If driving regulations are cut then drivers who are already exhausted will be placed on a highway to hell.

“Forcing drivers to drive for longer and cutting their rest periods is dangerous for the drivers themselves and for all road users.

“The government needs to both start engaging with Unite about its no deal Brexit planning and also provide reassurance that driving regulations will not be weakened or suspended.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235. Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.