Friday May 29, 2020
For the road ahead

Truckstops should be classed as 'work canteens'

1/4/2020

Our Union has been contacted by Graham Yardley from The ‘fechan Truckstop to highlight that during the COVI-19 pandemic truckstops should have been classed the same as a ‘works canteen'. Graham has written to authorities stating:

We are primarily a Truckstop, catering for professional drivers. After last week's announcement for social spaces e.g. cafes and restaurants to close, we sought advice from the Road Haulage Association our MP and local councillor about how to proceed. We spent the weekend undertaking a risk assessment and formulating a plan to enable us to continue to serve our customers whilst adhering to the guidelines advocated by the Government and NHS.

Our customers are truck drivers. Many of them will have spent 10-15 hours in their cab working in very difficult conditions. Most of the motorway services have already closed. Most of their collection and delivery points have placed restrictions on what drivers can access. This includes no access to canteens, food, vending machines and, in some circumstances, no access to toilets and welfare facilities.  It is therefore more important than ever that we remain open to offer some respite to these drivers. After being isolated in their cabs for extended periods of time, they need a cooked meal and the opportunity to eat that meal at a table outside of their cabs. We would argue that our site is not a social space but, in this emergency, is acting as a works canteen for these drivers. Drivers should not be expected to work, sleep AND eat in the same place. With this in mind, I refer you to SSI 2020 No. 103 Schedule 1 Part 1 Paragraph 2 which states that a works canteen can remain open as long as distance of two metres can be maintained between users. (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2020/103/schedule/1/paragraph/2/made)

These drivers are extremely important if we want to keep the supply chain moving. As you will be aware they have been designated as key workers and as such deserve our support. They deliver the food, fuel and medical supplies upon which we are all reliant.

The measures taken to ensure the safety of customers and staff are as follows:

1.      We have stripped out all but a few chairs in the café. There are now only eight seats in total and only one chair per table

2.      Each table is separated from the other by over 2 metres

3.      Each customer has their hands sanitized, with the sanitizer administered by a member of staff

4.      After the driver has finished their meal and returned to the cab, we sanitize the table and chair

5.      Every three hours, we sanitize all contact surfaces with an approved sanitizer, which includes door handles, tables, chairs, light switches, stair railings, salt and pepper shakers, taps etc.

6.      We have created a line beyond which drivers should not pass, so to keep their distance from our staff

We take this situation very seriously. We do not want to put our staff or customers at risk. We are doing this to support the HGV drivers and give them a small bit of normality especially since some of these drivers are away from home all week. Many drivers cannot return to their place of residence because drivers hours regulations prohibit them from doing so and therefore we should be looking after their mental and physical well-being.

I think it is also worth mentioning, for the avoidance of doubt, that we are not doing this for the sake of profit. Indeed putting in place the above measures is costing us money. It would be simpler and more cost effective to close the doors, put our staff on furlough and have the Government pay the bill. We feel very strongly that just as our customers have supported us over the years, it is now time for us to support them at a time when they need us the most.

We have contacted the various trade bodies, our local MP's, local and National Government.  We are trying to bring pressure from all angles to come up with a workable solution to this problem. In the Governments new emergency legislation , for whom there is dispensation.

More information is available on The 'fechan Truckstop website: https://www.facebook.com/The-Real-fechan-Diner-512716692103816/

 

 

 

 

 

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