Suffolk: Hauliers accused of ‘abuse’ of working conditions of drivers

UNION officials have accused a small number of independent Suffolk haulage operators of “systematic abuses” of their drivers.

A delegation of drivers, who members of Unite, are due to meet with Labour’s shadow Transport Secretary, Maria Eagle on Tuesday to raise the alleged abuses of the Working Time Directive by a small number of independent hauliers in Suffolk.

The union says the directive sets a legal maximum working week of 48 hours - a figure disputed by industry body the Road Haulage Association (RHA).

The RHA cast doubt on the claims, but said it would need to see the detail.

Unite regional officer Mark Plumb claimed there were abuses of the Working Time Directive, including working up to 80 hours per week, every week over the regulatory period, and infringements into night time working.

But the RHA’s employment services manager Peter Butler said: “I can’t really comment on the detail until I have seen it, but I have not come across it anywhere. We have no reported cases of it. Within the regulations that are in place, lorry drivers are allowed to work 60 hours a week.

“They may have a number of periods of availability which don’t count towards working time and that’s within the regulation.”