The RHA has accused the government of committing “cabotage sabotage” against British truck drivers.
The association said it was shocked and disappointed by the proposal to allow foreign haulage companies to undertake unlimited work in the UK in two-week blocks.
It believes more effective measures could be taken to deal with the UK’s driver shortage.
Cabotage allows non-UK haulage companies to work in the UK while being based outside the UK.
The companies and employees will pay no tax in the UK.
RHA concedes the step will help deal with the crisis in haulage availability.
However, it also argues it goes against the current efforts in other areas.
For example, there is a big effort to provide long-term solutions to problems of lorry driver availability, pay and conditions.
Rod McKenzie, the RHA’s MD for policy and public affairs, hit out against the “cabotage sabotage”.
“This proposal undermines the good work done already on training, testing of drivers and the improved pay and conditions we have started to see for drivers.”
Different measures needed
Meanwhile, the RHA has supported a range of measures, some have been taken up but key measures have not.
For example, two not taken up relate to temporarily allowing non-UK drivers to come to the UK and changes to Driver CPC administration.
“These two measures proposed by the RHA (and others) would make a difference to the availability of lorry drivers for UK companies,” said McKenzie.
“It is a shame that the UK government chosen not to proceed in a timely way on these measures.
“Instead, it decided to offshore UK haulage work to unaccountable operators from outside the UK”.
When a driver works for a UK company they will be continuous assessed, often via telematics.
As a result, the operators are accountable to the traffic commissioners in the UK for the compliance with safety standards.
Under cabotage you have no effective control over compliance with safety standards.