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Drivers support whistleblowers

15th August 1996, Page 11
15th August 1996
Page 11
Page 11, 15th August 1996 — Drivers support whistleblowers
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

• Drivers have given a unanimous thumbs-up to whistleblowing on bosses who ask them to break the law.

The drivers back the campaign for police to offer an amnesty to whistleblowers, move which has been heavily supported by driver unions and Parliament's Transport Select Committee. Both want drivers being forced to break the law by employers to be able to tell the police without fear of being prosecuted themselves.

Currently drivers who are forced by unscrupulous bosses to drive without taking proper breaks, fiddle tachographs and drive without a licence face the prospect of being fined and 104-ing their jobs if they tell the authorities what is going on.

Peter Crabtree, of Durhambased TWR Haulage, is one who has carried the can for a former employer: "I got fined because my boss hadn't taxed my vehicle or paid for an Operators Licence. At the time the police said it wasn't me they were after but my boss—it was just bad luck I'd been driving at the time."

Peter's partner Tom Robinson explains that an increasing number of just-in-time deliveries put more pressure on drive: break the law. He •: "Nowadays you are given a certaM time to make the delivery by and because time margills are so tight any traffic problems can make you late meaning y(qi miss a return load."

Kent tipper driver Sean Martin agrees there is a problem.

He says: "The boss tells you to put your foot down and if you don't you lose your job. What can you du ? We all have families to feed. But if you get caught for speeding it's you who pays the fine."

Andrew Bawden, a vehicle recovery driver from Rochester, Kent says he'd support anything to get cowboy operators off the road.

He adds: "If a driver is forced by an employer to do it he should get help, basses generally know the rules and they know it's wrong. People running illegally put people running legally out of business."

Bill Cooper, an agency driver for 30 years, says the way some drivers are treated by employers in being forced to break rules and the wages they are paid is a "disgrace".

"Most of the transport industry treat drivers poorly," he says. "I feel so strongly about it I would support a national strike if it started on Monday," he adds.

Driver Jeff Burch admits some drivers are forced to bend the rules, but he says: "If I run out of hours I insist on being picked up by somebody else."

Chris Halstead of Teesiclebased CGH Haulage thinks the situation has got better in recent years: "I think it's a good idea in theory but whether it would work in practice is another matter," he adds,

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