Supporting our supply chain #StandingTogether22

As delivered to Community’s Biennial Delegate Conference in Belfast on May 31st 2022.

Conference, Stewart Beaton speaking on the NEC’s support for Composite Motion A on working hours.

Conference, the last three years have shown us just how important the supply chain is to this country. One missing piece can wreak havoc throughout our entire nation.

We are currently facing a labour shortage in our logistics sector. Workers are leaving the sector in their droves, and they’re doing it because of the poor conditions they’re being forced to work in.

Our members in the logistics sector tell us about the difficulties they’re facing, particularly around the conditions during overnight stops, and working excessive hours.

And those are just in the workplaces we are recognised in. In unrecognised workplaces, we hear of members who are frequently being compelled to exceed the maximum weekly working hours. This is deeply, deeply unsafe.

Fatigue is a major, and potentially deadly, concern. With drivers constantly working forty-six, forty-eight, sometimes even fifty hours a week. Working these hours in stressful road conditions and amidst the growing shortage of drivers, the increasing workload puts undue pressure on the shoulders of existing workers. This pressure is too much, and it is pushing many of them to breaking point.

Similarly, poor quality rest stops, and hygiene facilities are found across the country, are further contributing to the declining conditions our logistics workers face. We would not accept such poor conditions in an office, so we should not accept such poor conditions for our logistics workers.

People are leaving the sector, and who can blame them?

Conference, the NEC is backing this motion, and we call for our union to urgently lobby the government to seek much needed improvements for the working hours and conditions for people in our logistics sector.

If you support this motion, our union will also commit resources to evaluate businesses of all sizes to ensure that best practice and the law is followed at all times, to ensure the safety of our members.

Conference, a crisis is coming our way in our supply chain. Workers are tired of the conditions they are subjected to and are leaving the logistics sector en masse.

We can protect the sector, protect our workers, and protect our supply chain. But that requires action. Please support this motion.

Thank you.

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