The Government today invited views on draft regulations and formal guidance that will support the implementation of the new working time regulations for the haulage industry.
The Road Transport (Working Time) Directive comes into force next March and will mean commercial drivers and crews of heavy goods vehicles and public service vehicles will be limited to an average 48-hour week, normally calculated over a four-month period (but calculated over a six-month period, if subject to an agreement).
A maximum of 60 hours can be worked in a single week, providing the average 48-hour limit is not exceeded, and unless there is an agreement, night workers are restricted to 10-hours working time for any 24-hour period. Any work performed during the night period triggers the 10-hour limit.
Transport minister, David Jamieson, said commercial drivers and crew were just about the last group of workers to receive working time protection.
"The new regulations and guidance include a simpler, more transparent method of calculating average working time and also apply separate rules for occasional drivers," he said.
"Having consulted industry all the way through this process, I expect the industry will now be able to complete its preparations before the new rules come into force on 23 March 2005."
However, the transport industry has voiced concerns about the impact of the directive as overtime pay traditionally amounts to a large proportion of drivers’ pay and the perceived need to hire extra staff to cope with limited working hours.