In a phone call with the Parliamentary State Secretary responsible for transport, last week, our German affiliate ver.di stressed the appalling conditions truck drivers experience when driving in Germany. And this is since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis! Rest areas at motorway service stations are closed down, drivers can neither buy food nor use the sanitary facilities. At loading and unloading points drivers are often not allowed to use the toilets which stay closed to “outsiders”.
The German transport minister Scheuer took up the drivers’ concerns raised by ver.di in a press conference last Thursday (26 March). He stated: “I will no longer accept that truck drivers are treated badly.” So, the transport ministry introduced a number of measures meant to improve conditions at motorway service stations and set up a free hotline where truck drivers can report problems they encounter: https://www.bmvi.de/SharedDocs/DE/Artikel/K/Corona/lkw-fahrerInnen.html
ver.di expects that the transport ministry and employers will continue to care for drivers’ work and lives beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Freight forwarding and logistics workers have been doing some amazing work for years, at relatively low salaries and often under poor working conditions. That’s why, once and for all, drivers’ working and living conditions need to be improved in the long run.
Furthermore, yesterday, ver.di called on the works councils in the freight forwarding and logistics industry to help ensure that the sanitary facilities can be used by truck drivers when they load or unload at their hubs. Driving a truck in these times with limited possibility to use a restroom or to grab some food on their way is bad enough. Truck drivers should receive support from their customers at the start or destination of their trip.
It’s not enough to say: “Respect and solidarity with truck drivers”; it must be proven with concrete action!