As the Government have further discussed their plans for employees, as well as those who work for themselves - some hauliers have been explaining why the 80% salary support from the Government might not be enough for most drivers across the UK haulage work market and described some of the ways that this could become problematic in the coming months, where it is very likely that more and more drivers may need time off to recover from any sickness that could spread as they continue their everyday work to the best of their ability.
At Roger Warnes Transport, Ian Barclay, director of operations spoke on the matter of sending home their drivers as well as businesses granting leave for drivers who will suffer a cause for illnesses in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak. Speaking on the matter, he said:
“We need to flex down and up again, depending on customer demands. What furloughing says is that you put people off, full stop. That would work for a factory closing down, it would fund their employees perfectly. But for the transport industry, I don’t think that will work. We don’t know what the demand will be.
He continued:“We have had a few more demands in agriculture: for example, barley for malt to make beer and also on sugar beet pellets. But then what happens when you come out of that season? We need an ongoing ability to flex hours without having to go through the red tape processes. What concerns me is dealing with a floodgate of tribunal claims later on.”
The RHA also addressed the matter, previously elaborating on some of the circumstances that drivers are finding themselves in in light of the lack of support and access to facilities during deliveries. While laws that keep drivers under a lot of pressure are temporarily having their grips loosened, support from other facilities for hauliers has been mixed.
Warehouses and drop-off points were refusing drivers access to facilities, to which drivers should present an appropriate document explaining their rights as provided by the Government.
Now, the concerns shift towards pay for drivers who could find themselves temporarily out of work should they suffer with symptoms of coronavirus. The RHA has called upon the Government to offer "a very substantial package of help" which the whole industry is in dire need of if it hopes to progress through this crisis without seeing major repercussions for members of the industry. They also addressed other concerns that have become relevant since the 80% salary announcement.
RHA director of policy of public affairs, Rod McKenzie, spoke on the matter: “The issues are different from company to company. Some are rushed off their feet, some HGV's are parked up and there’s not much understanding within government about things like standing charges. Furlough needs to be very flexible.” In time, the industry will see whether officials will support the haulage and logistics industry as much as haulage is supporting the country through the pandemic.
During these tough times, haulage companies, owner drivers and freight forwarders can still make use of Freight Exchange platforms like Returnloads.net to obtain return loads and sub-contract haulage work throughout the UK and Europe to keep the work flowing and to avoid empty running and dead mileage.