The government is falling short when half a million lorry drivers are ‘caught short’ looking for toilet facilities, Unite, the country’s largest union, has said.
The union said that it is calling for a statutory, legally-binding code of practice so that lorry drivers have adequate parking and eating facilities, and decent showers and toilets when they are travelling across the UK for up to five-days-at-a-time.
Unite was commenting on transport minister John Hayes’ written statement to MPs on road freight, which, the union said, was ‘too much talk and not enough action’.
Unite national officer for road transport Adrian Jones said: “The road haulage industry contributes billions of pounds a year to the British economy, but the drivers who contribute to this wealth often have to park up in isolated lay-bys and unappealing industrial estates for the night.
“Too many haulage bosses are quite happy for their drivers to leave the depot and as long as they deliver the load and return on time, they are not overly concerned about how they sleep, eat and shower. We know that this is a particular issue for Kent county council.
“The ideal would be ‘specialist lorry parks’ for lorry drivers – safe, secure and clean with the modern facilities you would expect from the world’s sixth largest economy.
“At present, the picture is very mixed. Some privately-owned lorry parks are very good and others leave a lot to be desired.
“Unite is pleased that the government has at long last recognised the important role road transport workers play in the economy. However, the minister’s statement falls short of what we believe is needed to make a real change to thousands of workers whose workplaces are the roads across the country.
“Unite believes that urgent action needs to be taken to oblige developers to include parking facilities for drivers in their plans as well as a national minimum standard for parking facilities - underpinned by a statutory code of practice - that both public and privately-owned facilities should adhere to.”
The minister said a contract has been awarded for ‘an extensive national survey of lorry parking’ to be completed by the spring.
However, Adrian Jones added: “We have heard a lot of warm words on this issue from government, but it needs to move faster to put statutory flesh on the bones of good intentions – and Unite will be campaigning strongly on this issue in 2017.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.