In a show of unity, leaders of organizations representing transport workers, logistics companies and shippers have come together to highlight the poor treatment of drivers around the world. The Global Shippers Alliance (GSA), IRU, the world road transport organisation, and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) have launched a new Charter which they say is aimed at improving how truck and van drivers are treated at collection and delivery sites.

According to these organizations, drivers often have to work in difficult conditions with poor access to sanitation facilities at loading and unloading sites. This has been made worse by the COVID pandemic which, in some cases, has resulted in drivers being refused permission to leave their vehicles.

The Charter also takes aim at the long term barriers to recruitment in the industry which has resulted in some parts of the world facing driver shortages. A lack of basic facilities is regularly cited as a reason why so few women and younger people enter the profession. The three organizations claim that women make up just 2% of the overall driver population and that only 5% of drivers are under 25. This has resulted in more than a fifth of driving vacancies going unfilled in many countries.

Commenting on the launch of the Charter, Denis Choumert, GSA Chairman, said: “Shippers want to run collection and delivery sites that are welcoming and secure for drivers. It is in our interest, and the interest of efficient global supply chains, to make sure that drivers are empowered to do their job well.”

John Manners-Bell, Founder of the Foundation for Future Supply Chain, joined the calls for a commitment to better facilities for drivers. “This is a problem I have been highlighting for many years. As well as better sanitary facilities, I am glad the Charter makes reference to the provision of safe and secure parking. Cargo crime is widespread throughout the world and drivers cannot be expected to risk their own safety parked up overnight, for example, in vulnerable laybys. I would suggest that government also has a role to play in this respect by facilitating the construction of more truckstops. Only by addressing these very basic issues will the industry attract more women and younger workers. This is not a question of dogma, but common sense.”

Source: Foundation for Future Supply Chains, May 21st 2021

Author: John Manners-Bell


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