Call for better trucking conditions
NATIONAL efforts are underway to improve roadside facilities for truckers to attract the extra lorry drivers the industry needs.Felixstowe haulage boss Ralph Morton says truckers are hard to recruit because they are being "treated like second class citizens" and there is a desperate need to improve washing facilities, provide 24-hour stopping places and better food.
NATIONAL efforts are underway to improve roadside facilities for truckers to attract the extra lorry drivers the industry needs.
Felixstowe haulage boss Ralph Morton says truckers are hard to recruit because they are being "treated like second class citizens" and there is a desperate need to improve washing facilities, provide 24-hour stopping places and better food.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) agrees – and said it was working hard to try to encourage new developments to improve life on the road and to have facilities like those of mainland Europe.
RHA spokeswoman Kate Gibbs said: "We are a long way behind Europe – we cannot argue with that.
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"We are doing everything we can to encourage and promote better conditions and make life for hauliers easier. We are working closely with the motorway services and would like to see dedicated areas at services for truckers with reasonable prices and good quality facilities to suit their needs."
Mr Morton, of Ralph Morton Transport, said: "Drivers are not second class citizens but they are being treated like second class citizens.
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"Would you want to sleep in a lay-by? We would book into a hotel or a motel and have some comfort if we were on a long journey.
"Lorry drivers cannot do that. They can't take heavy goods vehicles into a hotel, and the times for booking in or leaving a hotel would not fit in with their working hours in any case."
He called for 24-hour motels with parking for lorries at strategic points around the country to match drivers' routes, with flexibility for booking in and out, proper meals at reasonable prices, and first-class showers and washing facilities.
Nationally the haulage industry is suffering truck driver shortage and the situation is set to get worse this year when European Working Time Directive comes into force, limiting drivers to an average of 48 hours a week.
n Are you a truck driver – do you feel you are treated like a second-class citizen? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk