Wednesday 22 September 2021

Unite manifesto proposes solutions to driver shortfall


The transport union Unite has published a Drivers’ Manifesto to help tackle the logistics industry’s driver recruitment and retention problems. It highlights an apparent lack of diversity in the profession, which, says the union, “is overwhelmingly white, male, middle aged or older” – and points out that there are significantly higher proportions of women and ethnic minority bus drivers, using a similar skill set.

A preface to the manifesto warns: “There has been very little done to change the way operators look to employ new drivers; in effect we keep fishing in the same pool expecting new fish to be caught.”

While Unite suggests that there should be research undertaken into how to attract new talent, including younger people, it warns that: “the very nature of the job – long hours, uncertain working hours, high levels of surveillance – are key issues” that will have to be addressed.

The manifesto suggests a National Council be established to set wage standards, stating: “The culture of driving down terms through benchmarking and outsourcing, as well as the misuse of agency drivers and bogusly self-employing drivers, has resulted in pay that does not reflect the skills, knowledge and qualifications needed to do the job.”

It also proposes a single standard for UK drivers to replace current separate driving and working time rules, which would resolve the “clash” between them and include the removal of periods of availability. On truck parking, the manifesto says that all new industrial sites should be made to include proper provision for off-road parking with basic facilities.

The manifesto additionally advocates that authorities get tough with companies that refuse to let visiting drivers use toilet facilities; suggests means of boosting Driver CPC engagement, including assessments for each module to ensure comprehension; and calls for increased transparency around the operator compliance risk score (OCRS).

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