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Investment into improving HGV driver conditions welcomed

25 November 2022

Our specialist Transport sector partners Vikki Woodfine and Ann Frances Cooney comment on the news that HGV drivers will benefit from better roadside facilities, backed by up to £100 million investment from industry and government, announced today. 

Vikki Woodfine, regulatory partner, says: "This is very welcome news for the sector. Whilst Brexit undoubtedly had an impact on driver numbers in the UK, the clear and strong feedback we continually get from hauliers is that driver conditions have been a significant cause of drivers leaving the industry. 

"We remain in a precarious position regards the national driver shortage and despite feedback that record numbers of new drivers are taking and passing their test to enter the industry, the overall driver shortage shows little signs of improvement. 

"In recent years we have seen the Government make changes to drivers' hours and testing regimes to try to get more drivers on the road. But the longer term answer has always been to improve driver conditions to make the profession more appealing to a wider audience. 

"Until drivers in the UK are afforded the same treatment up and down the country in service stations and at client sites as their foreign counterparts enjoy, the profession will continue to struggle to attract and then retain drivers. 

"Therefore any investment into such desperately required improvements will be well received by all involved in transport and logistics. We can only hope that the funds are readily accessible and swift improvements will follow soon thereafter so that empty shelves become a thing of the past and the sector becomes reinvigorated."

Ann Frances Cooney, employment law partner, comments: "Many employers have been working hard over recent years to improve driver welfare only to have their efforts undermined by a lack of national investment in facilities at rest stops. 

"This has contributed to a negative image of the sector which impacts employers' ability to recruit and retain staff, leading to staff shortages and in some cases affecting hauliers' ability to meet service demands. 

"The announcement of additional investment is undoubtedly a step in the right direction however it is long overdue and doesn't offer a "quick fix" to the challenges facing the industry. 

"As a heavily unionised sector, employers within transport & logistics continue to face pressure over pay, terms and conditions and are not immune to the increased levels of industrial unrest that has affected other sectors in recent months. It is hoped that drivers and union leaders likewise view the proposals in a positive light."

 

Read the full announcement here

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