Truck drivers are facing up to having to work longer hours in a bid to prevent UK food shortages.

As a result, from Monday, drivers can increase their daily limit from nine hours to 10.

In addition, they have the option of changing their weekly rest patterns.

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary made the announcement on Wednesday.

He claimed the move would give flexibility to drivers who drove longer distances.

However, the news has not gone down well with industry bodies.

For example, the RHA was just one group to oppose the relaxation.

‘Relaxing drivers’ hours won’t make any material difference,’ read a statement. 

The RHA also stated that the move ‘fails to address the underlying issues, which require a package of measures to fix’.

Action was required because of the driver shortage, which currently stands at around 60,000 drivers.

The situation has been compounded by Brexit and also the pandemic, which has prevented driving tests being taken.

Furthermore, around 30,000 tests are still to be taken by potential drivers.

These tests have been delayed because of the restrictions of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, trade union Unite has also stated the longer hours will not help driver shortages.

“Unite will be advising its members to not place themselves in danger,” said Adrian Jones, Unite’s national officer for road transport. 

“If they are too tired to drive safely, they have a legal right to refuse to do so.

“Unite will fully support those who make that decision, legally and industrially.”

Finally, James Firth from Logistics UK, said the industry “vehemently opposed the extension.” 

He said the longer hours would “heap more pressure on drivers who are already stretched to the limit to deliver”.

Concluding, Firth added that the government had “ignored the will of those who will be most affected by the changes”.

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