NZ Truck & Driver News

 
Pay, hours, monitoring....key driver issues

Pay, hours, monitoring....key driver issues

NZ Truck & Driver News

 July 2019   
FIRST Union says a comprehensive survey of Kiwi truckies, asking them why the industry is losing drivers (and isn't attracting more newcomers), shows that low pay is overwhelmingly seen as the main reason….followed, in order, by long working hours and increasing surveillance.

The union says that of the 384 drivers quizzed for the In It For The Long-Haul survey, 80.4% cited pay, over half (51.7%) reckoned it's the long hours and 41.9% blamed an increased level of driver monitoring.

Says FIRST Union: "The survey reveals systemic issues within the sector such as inadequate pay, long hours and driver monitoring and surveillance rather than demographics (age) and worsened driving culture as main factors for the truck driver shortage."

Just 2.9% of the drivers surveyed were under 25 years of age….while 73.5% per were 45 years or older. In fact, of the latter group, 15.4% were 65 or older.

FIRST Union divisional secretary Jared Abbott says that truck driving is becoming less appealing – and the reasons for that need to be addressed: "So many of our sectors rely on truck drivers to keep businesses running, so many of the products and services we use and consume everyday have been delivered by a truck, this needs to be a wakeup call.

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FIRST Union says a comprehensive survey of Kiwi truckies, asking them why the industry is losing drivers (and isn't attracting more newcomers), shows that low pay is overwhelmingly seen as the main reason….followed, in order, by long working hours and increasing surveillance.
The union says that of the 384 drivers quizzed for the In It For The Long-Haul survey, 80.4% cited pay, over half (51.7%) reckoned it's the long hours and 41.9% blamed an increased level of driver monitoring.
Says FIRST Union: "The survey reveals systemic issues within the sector such as inadequate pay, long hours and driver monitoring and surveillance rather than demographics (age) and worsened driving culture as main factors for the truck driver shortage."
Just 2.9% of the drivers surveyed were under 25 years of age….while 73.5% per were 45 years or older. In fact, of the latter group, 15.4% were 65 or older.
FIRST Union divisional secretary Jared Abbott says that truck driving is becoming less appealing – and the reasons for that need to be addressed: "So many of our sectors rely on truck drivers to keep businesses running, so many of the products and services we use and consume everyday have been delivered by a truck, this needs to be a wakeup call.
"More importantly, we have been warning about the industry becoming less appealing due to pay packets that seem to be stuck in neutral and invasive in-cab cameras. Pay is not what it used to be and drivers are under more pressure to work even longer hours to make up for the inadequate pay. 
"Further, we really need to ask whether driver-facing cameras are having a positive effect on health and safety at all. With increased anxiety amongst drivers adding to fatigue and experienced drivers leaving the industry, how can this be positive?"
The Union says the drivers surveyed in one-on-one interviews were "union and non-union, and employees and contractors." The survey was commissioned by the Transport Workers Network and ProDrive.
Most of the driver surveyed (95.6% of them) held Class 4-6+ licences, while 79% held Class 5 or higher.
One of the most important findings of the survey, says FIRST Union, is that "contrary to the popular belief that retirement and fatalities/accidents represent the main causes of drivers leaving the industry," only around 18% of those surveyed indicated fatalities/risk of injury as a factor, while almost 24% cited retirement. 
Almost a third of respondents (33.0%) listed a worsening workplace culture – particularly relationships with managers and dispatchers. And almost 42% said driver monitoring (with up to four cameras recording the driver in the cab) was a likely reason for drivers getting out of the industry.
Just over 23% of respondents identified "other" issues they believed were influencing drivers to leave (or not enter) the industry – the most common among them were worsening traffic, the high cost of getting a licence and a lack of respect from management. 
"Experienced drivers who teach new drivers often feel that they are not acknowledged for this by management and many drivers also spoke of poor relationships with dispatchers."
The truckies surveyed were asked what could be done to attract/retain more drivers, and the most popular suggestions were better wages, fewer long shifts (and none over 12 hours), a better workplace culture – eg wanting to be acknowledged by management and treated with respect. 
They also wanted better H&S standards (including a strong call to be allowed to have their children in the cabs), better management, less monitoring – many strongly expressing the view that the driver-facing cameras are detrimental to health and safety – and more training.
FIRST Union says that "whereas factors such as accidents and retirement are viewed as almost inevitable….(the former can be minimised but never completely thwarted), systemic factors such as low pay, long hours and driver monitoring are the result of economic and political decisions. 
"We therefore argue that pay rates can and must be increased, long shifts reduced and driver monitoring minimised. These issues are solvable. 
"Our survey indicates that most drivers love their job; many of them have been in the industry for over three decades, but the pay and working conditions do not reflect their hard work and commitment. 
"We conclude that challenging the low pay, long hours, driver monitoring and deteriorated workplace culture represent the main tasks for industry leaders in order to resolve the truck driver shortage in NZ."  


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