With the government planning at least four huge lorry parks in Kent to deal with post-Brexit delays, Unite has launched a campaign “to ensure that decent welfare facilities are installed at all lorry parks built in the county”.
The UK’s largest trade union, Unite, has launched a campaign to lobby MPs and councillors in Kent to ensure that adequate facilities are installed in all lorry parks built in the county. The government has revealed plans for at least four lorry parks to manage any transport delays as a result of the UK’s currently transition deal with the EU ending at the end of December.
Delays are expected at ports due to increased checks and paperwork to be required for lorries exporting goods to the EU. Unite says that although the government has accepted that significant delays may occur, there has been a lack of information available regarding what welfare facilities will be installed at the lorry parks for professional lorry drivers.
The union is calling for “decent and clean toilets” to be made available for lorry drivers, with washing facilities and hot and cold running water – something that is particularly important due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to wash hands regularly. They are also lobbying MPs and Councillors to make sure hot food is available for lorry drivers, who may be stuck at the lorry parks for quite some time, as well as areas for drivers to relax outside their lorries to combat the dangers of fatigue.
So far, the government has only stated that portaloos will be provided at the lorry parks – something Unite sees as “entirely inadequate”.
As part of the campaign, Unite will be asking local MPs and councillors for support to ensure that the necessary welfare facilities are provided at the lorry parks. The union is also seeking a seat on the Kent Resilience Forum – which has been set up to provide appropriate facilities in the area – to make sure there is a voice for lorry drivers on the body.
Unite regional officer Phil Silkstone described the matter of welfare facilities for lorry drivers as a “public health issue” and said that the health and safety of lorry drivers should not be put at risk.
Mr Silkstone said: “Unite will not allow MPs and councillors to look the other way as lorry drivers are denied basic rights.
“This is a huge public health issue, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Unless there are adequate welfare facilities then it is inevitable that the local environment will be damaged.
“The government has had years to plan for how transport will be managed post-Brexit but it has singularly failed to do so.
“The health and safety of drivers must not be put at risk as a result of the government’s failings.”
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