Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, has warned today (Tuesday) that urgent action is needed to prevent delivery drivers placing their health and that of their customers at risk during the coronavirus crisis.
Unite, which represents thousands of lorry drivers, has been inundated with calls from drivers worried about their health as they are still being required to undertake non-essential deliveries to domestic premises.
Unite has seen delivery lists where workers have been required to deliver barbecues, table tennis tables, trampolines musical equipment, flat screen TVs, cross trainers and treadmills.
Due to the size of the items being delivered, cabs are doubled crewed meaning that the workers cannot social distance during travelling and delivery. They are also often required to enter customers’ homes to the deliver the goods.
Unite is calling on the government to immediately introduce strict guidance to ensure that social distancing is maintained at all times during such deliveries.
This must include the journey to the property and during the delivery itself with extra checks in place if the goods have to be taken inside a domestic property.
Unite recognises that in an emergency customers will need essential white goods during the crisis such as cookers, freezers, fridges and washing machines but even these must be delivered with strict guidance being adhered to.
Unite has raised its concerns directly with the department of transport, which indicated that it was unwilling to act.
Government get a grip
Unite national officer for road transport Adrian Jones said: “The government has to get a grip of this situation. Drivers are rightly worried that the health of their customers, their family and themselves is being put at risk if social distancing policies are not adhered to.
“Clear social distancing policies need to be immediately established and adopted for domestic deliveries. Companies then must implement them or consider halting deliveries, until they are able to ensure safety. They must think about the increased risk of delivering items like trampolines where social distancing becomes an impossibility, meaning both the company and the public must consider the impact of delivering these and similar non-essential goods.
“Unite is absolutely committed to working with the government and with employers to ensure that social distancing measures are established and adhered to at all times.
“Unite would also ask the public to think very carefully before ordering large items and ask themselves can a driver deliver it to them safely by themselves.”