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Felixstowe hauliers breaking hours rules, says union

[ May 17, 2012   //   ]

The Unite trade union has called an urgent meeting with shadow transport secretary alleging that a small number of independent Felixstowe-based hauliers are carrying out “systematic abuses” of the Working Time Directive.

A delegation of drivers, members of Unite, met with the Labour Party’s Maria Eagle on 22 May to raise a number of concerns. Unite regional officer Mark Plumb said: “The flagrant abuses of the Working Time Directive, include working up to 80 hours per week, every week over the regulatory period. Also, there are infringements into night time working (starting work before 4.00am) without health checks, and then followed by 15-hour days, up to three times per week.”

He added: “Members are also being encouraged to take their rest periods, while their lorries are being loaded or unloaded, and, in some cases, are being given loads which exceed the maximum weight limit for such vehicles. We hope that Maria Eagle will raise these concerns with transport secretary Justine Greening, as these alleged abuses could be mirrored elsewhere in the UK.”

Unite spokesman Shaun Noble added: “The fact that a delegation is meeting the shadow transport secretary shows the seriousness with which we regard these allegations.”

At the meeting on 22 May Maria Eagle pledged to raise the issue with government ministers and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency. She said: “The serious concerns about working conditions and safety for all road users raised with me by heavy goods vehicle drivers must be taken seriously by both the haulage industry and ministers. I will be raising these concerns with the Department for Transport and VOSA. They must take swift action to investigate any practices that put the safety of both HGV drivers and other road users at risk.”

Unite regional officer Mark Plumb said: “We had a very positive meeting with Maria Eagle and are pleased that she is taking our concerns forward. We hope that this action will stamp out the abuses that Unite has highlighted.”

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