There Is No Such Thing As Normal
Has anyone imagined what it’s like to be a LGV driver over recent months? While most of us remain parked in our ivory towers, our driving colleagues are challenged every day (and night) with more regulations than possibly any other occupation, having to find funding in order to gain the job in the first place and then enter a world where public perception is one of being a necessary evil.
Not forgiving the weight of the vehicle, the weight awarded our ambassadors of the road is immense. Recently, for a brief moment, lorry drivers were recognised on par with other key workers, having played a significant role in pandemic response providing essential goods including food products for the nation as a whole.
But what weight is forced upon those fantastic characters covering the miles of the motorway network who will now be challenged to provide post-Lockdown support to retailers in particular in coming weeks as the rush to re-stock arrives.
Pre-pandemic, concern was rising about the driver shortage, mental and physical health and with the average age of an LGV driver now rising to 57 years, it is easy to see why the trade associations have attempted to steer a pre-occupied government towards industry support, including licence acquisition being made available via the Apprenticeship Levy, which is pouring money into the pot but only minimally taken back out.
Traffic Commissioners relaxed hours to support the industry as a whole but does it really help the driver, already fatigued through all the characteristics associated to the job- long, unsociable hours; working in isolation; obesity; diabetes; little opportunity for fitness regimes again, not only physically, but mentally. A role where there driver also has very little control over his or her day, yet at the same time trusted with circa £100,000 vehicle and anything up to £1 million of stock being pulled behind them.
Drivers arrive at customer sites now, under shameful delivery site policy, knowingly breaching health and safety law, without access to welfare facilities ( which would include the ‘wash your hands on arrival’ edit) having perhaps travelled for several hours in order to complete a just in time delivery. It really is appalling to treat another person in that way, let alone someone who is in effect a guest to the site, one that these sites cannot do without.
To close, thank you to not only our ambassadors of the road at C Butt Ltd, but all those drivers from competitors that are operating to serve the nation in ongoing challenging circumstance, regardless of coronavirus. Public perception is a difficult thing to change and as stated, only temporary respect appears to have been returned. There is no such thing as normal on many,many levels.