Haulage firms must vet their EU drivers

OVER the past few months, there has been a gradual increase in the number of EU nationals arriving in this country seeking employment. It would appear that the vast majority of those coming to the UK are citizens of former Eastern block countries such as

OVER the past few months, there has been a gradual increase in the number of EU nationals arriving in this country seeking employment.

It would appear that the vast majority of those coming to the UK are citizens of former Eastern block countries such as Poland.

I am employed in the haulage and distribution industry. It is a well-documented fact that there is a shortage of lorry drivers who hold the specific licences required to drive HGVs in the UK.

A natural response by employers in this country has been to recruit qualified drivers from other EU states.

However, the problem is the employers are recruiting these drivers with no prior knowledge of their experience nor of how the relevant documentation was obtained in their mother country. Lives are being put at risk on our roads.

The reason is simple. A driving licence allowing a person to drive a 44-tonne truck in our country can be obtained in Eastern European countries for around £50. No experience is necessary.

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They can come to this country and, with these totally legitimate licences, drive a huge lorry on our motorways, having never been behind the wheel of one before. Does this make you feel safe driving to the supermarket on a Saturday morning to do your weekly shopping?

There have been a number of fatal accidents recently where blame has been apportioned to these drivers and it is time we put a stop to this madness before more innocent lives are lost.

The company I work for is in Poland on a recruitment drive seeking out potential employees. They are trying to recruit drivers who are undergoing the relevant training in Warsaw. It is a pity other employers do not show the same responsibility.

The recruitment drive of foreign workers could become an economic disaster. This is a good short-term solution to a national shortage of labour. When times become harder and unemployment rises sharply, as it will, consider the cost to this country of the cheap imported foreign labour.

MICHAEL WATERS, Crabapple Close, Sawtry

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