We’ve been talking a lot recently about the truck driver shortage, an issue that is front of mind in the road transport industry in Australia.
In the U.S. the situation is perhaps worse, a recent study showing large fleets had openings for around 10% of their truck driver pool.
That’s an awful lot of empty truck seats.
Transport companies in the UK are also struggling to get enough truck drivers behind the wheel of the nation’s heavy vehicles.
Now a leading trade union has weighed in on the issue, calling for better wages and conditions for British truckies.
Unite, say a combination of health problems, an ageing workforce and a failure to recruit younger workers is creating the severe shortage of drivers.
The union concerned that the issue could damage the British economy.
“The UK is sleepwalking into a driving crisis and we face the genuine prospect of being unable to move goods around the UK.” – Unite national officer Adrian Jones
“In order to both recruit new drivers and retain the existing workforce, the industry needs to have a long hard look at itself and end the race to the bottom attitude that currently exists on pay and conditions.
“Many drivers are forced to operate on a casual basis, often operating via employment agencies.
“The way drivers are treated is making workers ill and forcing highly dedicated drivers to leave the industry years before their normal retirement date.”
And the union is concerned not only about the driver shortage, but the inability to attract young people into the job.
They say the average age of drivers was 48 in 2016 – up from 45.3 in 2001.
13% of the UKs truck drivers are now aged over 60, while just 1% are under 25.
- Related: Report reveals why truck drivers quit new jobs
- Related: Train and retain: how to attract drivers in a shortage
- Related: U.S. transport businesses continue to lift driver pay rates
Stay up to date with the latest Truck and Bus Industry News at heavyvehicles.com.au.