Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, which represents over 50,000 lorry drivers, has strongly criticised the government for introducing a new system for dealing with disruption at Dover while once again ignoring the welfare needs of lorry drivers.

No answers

Unite has been seeking answers for over a year to drivers’ concerns about the lack of welfare provisions if there is major disruption on the roads towards Dover, either as a result of the introduction of customs checks or industrial action.

Welfare worries

A Freedom of Information request to the Department for Transport eventually gained the admission: “In the event of severe traffic disruption, the Kent Resilience Forum will make an operational decision on whether to deploy portable toilets on the M20 Junctions 8-9 coastbound and on both sides of the M26.”

Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “For over a year Unite has been trying to get information from the government about its plans for major disruption at the port of Dover and its measures to ensure drivers’ welfare.

“There is no provision for even the most basic welfare provision in the government’s scheme. The delivery of a few portaloos as an afterthought is simply not good enough.

“If a problem arises on the roads to Dover not only is there no welfare provision but drivers have no idea how long disruption will last, making it almost impossible to abide by driving regulations.

“Unite is also concerned that previous plans to have a specific lorry park at Manston, which could have provided drivers with a safer facility and proper welfare provisions, has apparently been dropped.

“The government has once again failed to consult with drivers before introducing these measures. The health, welfare and safety of drivers who will be most affected by future disruptions have been ignored or forgotten.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior 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.