Lorry drivers employed by Great Bear Distribution who work on the Unilever contract at Port Sunlight have secured an inflation beating pay deal, thanks to their union Unite.
The 18 month pay deal for the drivers, who deliver soap, shower gels and detergents, will see all elements of pay increase by 12.32 per cent. Overtime rates will also increase from time and a third to time and a half, with double time now paid if drivers undertake additional shifts.
The pay increase has been driven in part by a national shortage of lorry drivers, which has resulted in employers being charged extortionate rates by employment agencies when they need to recruit drivers.
By increasing the drivers’ rates of pay it is expected that Great Bear Distribution will find it easier to recruit permanent workers in future.
Unite regional officer Steve Gerrard said, “This pay deal is great news for members of Unite who are part of the core workforce at Great Bear Distribution. It goes some way to recognise their dedication and hard work.
“The pay deal that the union has secured underlines the value of organised workplaces and why lorry drivers should be members of Unite.
“The pay deal should also remove the need for Great Bear Distribution to rely on agency labour in the future,” he added.
“This pay deal also demonstrates the wider challenges being faced by skilled lorry drivers who have seen their pay and conditions driven down for too long,” Gerrard continued. “This has made the industry, which is highly demanding and requires skilled drivers, to be increasingly unattractive to new entrants and the existing workforce.
“The problems in the lorry driving sector will not be resolved until all employers follow the example of Great Bear Distribution and work with Unite to ensure that drivers are fairly paid and well treated.”
Unite has recently launched a manifesto to improve pay and conditions for HGV drivers and to try to reverse the severe shortages of qualified drivers that the industry is currently facing.
By Barckley Sumner