Sheffield fuel crisis: South Yorkshire lorry driver is offered 'more money' for 'less hours'

A South Yorkshire HGV lorry driver shares his views on the current crisis and says that the public don’t know the full truth behind the situation.

By Laura Andrew
Monday, 27th September 2021, 2:02 pm

Paul Sykes is a HGV lorry driver originally from Carcroft in Doncaster.

The 44 year old drives in the Doncaster area and has noticed a lot of changes to the industry lately.

Paul said: “Lorry drivers have been exploited for years.

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A Doncaster HGV driver shares his side of the story.

“But due to the current demand many drivers are able to work a lot less hours than in previous times.

“Wages have shot up from £11 an hour to around £30.

“That means drivers can work three days a week and get the same amount of money as if they were working full time.

“There isn’t a shortage of drivers, it's just that the drivers have finally stopped working those horrendous long hours and have started standing up for themselves.

“It’s a drivers market and now they know what they’re worth.”

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Paul said that it wasn’t uncommon for lorry drivers to live in their vehicles and work 60 hour weeks.

But he said the tide has turned and many drivers have quit low paying jobs and have signed up to agency work where they can gain higher hourly rates.

“The Government says we need more drivers,” Paul said.

“But I can’t understand that because every lay by I pass is full and everyone in the industry I speak to disagrees too.”

Paul is also concerned about the government relaxing the driving test for HGV drivers.

“There will be deaths on the road if they go ahead with that,” he said.

“They’re taking away the part of the test on reversing.

“One of the most important aspects of the test.

“It takes years to get comfortable with and new drivers won’t be able to get the hang of it immediately.

“They’re also simplifying the part on coupling of trailers which is also integral.”

Paul blames the current crisis on the stagnated wages in the industry especially from supermarkets.

And on the IR35 rule changes made earlier this year which saw drivers who are not British Nationals leaving the country.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.