Higher wages mean lorry drivers can work less and still earn a full-time wage, according to one HGV driver.
Paul Sykes has noticed a lot of changes to the industry lately and says there’s not a shortage of drivers - it’s just workers have started “standing up for themselves” and have stopped taking on “horrendous long hours.”
The 44-year-old said: “Lorry drivers have been exploited for years.
“But due to the current demand many drivers are able to work a lot less hours than in previous times.
“Wages have shot up from £11 an hour to around £30.
“That means drivers can work three days a week and get the same amount of money as if they were working full-time.
“There isn’t a shortage of drivers, it’s just that the drivers have finally stopped working those horrendous long hours and have started standing up for themselves.
“It’s a drivers market and now they know what they’re worth.”
Paul drives in the Doncaster area, and said it wasn’t uncommon for lorry drivers to live in their vehicles and work 60 hour weeks.
But he said the tide has turned and many drivers have quit low paying jobs and have signed up to agency work where they can gain higher hourly rates.
‘Every lay-by I pass is full’
“The government says we need more drivers,” Paul said.
“But I can’t understand that because every lay-by I pass is full and everyone in the industry I speak to disagrees too.”
Paul is also concerned about the government relaxing the driving test for HGV drivers.
“There will be deaths on the road if they go ahead with that,” he said.
“They’re taking away the part of the test on reversing.
“One of the most important aspects of the test.
“It takes years to get comfortable with and new drivers won’t be able to get the hang of it immediately.
“They’re also simplifying the part on coupling of trailers which is also integral.”
Paul blames the current crisis on the stagnated wages in the industry especially from supermarkets.
And on the IR35 rule changes made earlier this year which saw drivers who are not British Nationals leaving the country.
A version of this article was originally published by our sister title, the Doncaster Free Press
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