Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, representing over 50,000 lorry drivers, has said that drivers are willing to be flexible to meet increased demands due to the increased consumption in the retail sector as a result of the coronavirus, but safety must not be compromised.

Unite made the call after repeated suggestions that the government was considering suspending the regulations governing the maximum number of hours a lorry driver can drive for.

Longer hours

Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “In order to meet the increased demand as a result of the coronavirus, many lorry drivers are being asked to work long hours.

 “While Unite recognises that increased flexibility is required to cope with this increased demand, it must not be allowed to compromise drivers’ safety.

 “If changes in normal working practices are required than Unite believes that employers should enter into negotiations with Unite, to reassure drivers their safety is not being compromised.

 “If the government does decide to change the driving regulations this should be done in full co-operation with Unite and the industry. Changes should be kept to a minimum and should be for a clearly defined period.”

 “Drivers already report high levels of fatigue and exhaustion during their normal working time, which affects their physical and mental health as well as their family life and relationships. Lifting the regulations, without proper safeguards, will put more strain on them which could result in them being a danger to other road users and themselves.”

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.