Commenting on the extension until October of lorry driving hours being relaxed announced today (Friday 6 August), Unite national officer for road transport Adrian Jones said:

“Extending the relaxation of minimum lorry driving hours until October is frankly dangerous.

“The driver shortage, the huge demand and the considerable pressures that are simply part of the job, mean HGV drivers are already exhausted.

“Minimum driving hours are there to keep people safe. Relaxing them for six months of the year is foolhardy and will inevitably put workers and road users at risk. 

“We will continue advising our members not to put themselves in danger and to exercise their legal right to refuse to drive if they are too tried. 

“The union will fully support those who make that decision, legally and industrially.”

It is estimated that there is currently a shortage of around 75,000 lorry drivers in the UK.

Unite believes that the relaxation of the driving regulations will not resolve the problem of driver shortages and could actually make the situation worse.

As a result of being required to work even longer hours more drivers will decide to leave the profession.

While the government has announced the relaxation in driving hours, it has so far failed to take any action to encourage new entrants into the industry.

Unite has produced a manifesto of change for the sector: The key demands are to dramatically improve pay and welfare facilities for drivers in order to make the industry more attractive for new entrants. 


Government’s decision to relax lorry driver rules will not solve driver shortage, warns Unite

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.