Local press asked me for my views on likely “long-term” disruption on local buses because of a profound driver shortage. Here’s what I said in full.
“Covid and Brexit are undoubtedly two huge factors in this developing crisis. Many EU nationals have chosen to return to their home countries, some because of Covid. In addition, many end of career drivers who’ve been on furlough haven’t come back to work. But there’s a third often overlooked cause too. Ill health and illness is a major factor in the increasing shortage of drivers who often have to work long hours and have irregular shifts.
Not only are reliable bus services vital to many of the most disadvantaged people in our city, those services are absolutely key to keeping cars off the road as a key part of the urgent battle against climate breakdown.
I want to see self-defeating visa restrictions relaxed so people from abroad can once again be welcomed back to help in our public services. But that’s not enough. It is also essential that pay is improved and working conditions too, so drivers aren’t made ill by just doing their job.
I know retailers, including Tesco and Waitrose, have offered pay rises and bonuses to lorry drivers after years of getting away with paying less and saying they couldn’t afford it. It’s the same with bus drivers. Bus companies need to get used to taking less in profit and giving more to the workers who keep their businesses and our bus services running.”
Read the full article here.
Read this post on my Facebook page here.