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EU rules hit weekend troop reserves

#1
Words fail me on this one...

Working hours rules wipe out weekend troops


Britain's military reserves face a "staffing crisis" because the Government failed to exempt them from new European laws limiting the working hours of Britain's 500,000 professional lorry drivers.

The failure means that forces such as the Territorial Army (TA) will struggle to recruit volunteer drivers to do part-time work.

From April, the Drivers' Hours and Rest Time Regulation will force Britain's lorry drivers to limit the number of hours they spend behind the wheel.

But, despite repeated warnings, the Government did not include those who drive for the TA outside their normal job in an exemption. Soldiers are now worried that the TA's capability will be threatened.

An industry submission to a Department of Transport consultation on the subject last month warned the law would have "a significant adverse effect on military reserve forces personnel". It predicted that drivers would be "unwilling to continue as reserve forces personnel" which would "severely hamper recruitment and retention".
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The department ignored this guidance and now admits that it is too late to act on it. Its consultation paper says: "To provide some form of derogation for reserve forces personnel would mean having to amend the EU regulation itself. But there is absolutely no scope for doing so."

Dr Liam Fox, the shadow defence minister, said last night: "The idea that the Government would have been stupid enough to forget the needs of the Territorial Army when dealing with the European Union beggars belief. This potential staffing crisis gives you an idea of just how far down the agenda servicemen and women really come."

One big employer, Royal Mail, has already told the drivers of its 30,000-strong fleet that part-time work with reserve forces will not be allowed when the law, designed to improve safety on roads, comes into force on April 11.

Hundreds of its staff are thought to be affected.


Drivers are obliged to take up to 45 hours' rest after working a full week but from April, they will have to provide employers with time sheets detailing time spent on the road. Falsifying declarations will be a criminal offence, and employers will be held liable.

The unwelcome side effect of the EU regulation came to light when a Royal Mail driver, an infantryman with the TA, contacted his local Euro MP, independent Ashley Mote, after being warned about his second job by his main employer.The man, who asked not to be named, told The Sunday Telegraph: "This must affect lots of people, including firemen and special constables.

"I'm amazed. I don't blame the Royal Mail, because they are just complying with the law. But why didn't the Government think about this earlier? The reserve forces are a quarter of the whole Army."

Mr Mote, 71, MEP for the South-East, said: "This is a direct threat to our reserve army, which is already stretched. What business is it of the EU to tell us how we manage our armed forces?"

Joan Williams, the head of road freight and enforcement policy at the Freight Transport Association, said: "This change will be quite dramatic.

"Until now there has been no legal requirement to produce records for rest days, which lets moonlighting drivers get away with it. But from April there will have to be a record of what drivers are doing every day, even if it is not driving, even if it is for another employer.

"Not even the Territorial Army is exempt from this rule. Drivers will be asked to provide these records at the roadside and employers will have to keep them for 12 months. Falsifying records will be a serious offence and offenders can end up in prison." A Royal Mail spokesman said: "We want to be flexible and to see our people continue to serve in the Territorial Army, but we also must ensure we comply with the law.

"Our commitment to supporting our people in the reserve forces remains strong."

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "We have been aware of this issue for several months and are working to resolve this situation. Discussions are ongoing."


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/index.jhtml
 
#2
The fundamental problem with the British approach to the EU is that we actually take all of this bureaucracy seriously.

This is one of those regrettable occasions where we could genuinely learn something from the French..................

Accept the new regulations, sign the paperwork and then ignore them entirely.

Everyone else in the EU cherry picks the legislation that they choose to obey, why don't we do the same?!

:frustrated:
 
#3
What does one expect from the European Soviet Union ?!
Calls for a European Soviet Union Defence Force are thrown into sharp relief with this diktat.
No fighting wars after more than 35 hours in any one week.
When will a British politician stand up and tell the unelected, unaccountable, faceless functionaries in Euroland to P*ISS OFF ?
Come on Mr. Cameron - have the guts to take Great Britain back.
If you were to guarantee to tell the ESU to back off, you would be swept to power.
Bliar didn't dare because he wanted to be the first President of Europe. Come to think of it, he is seemingly bent enough for such an appointment.
 
#4
Let's just send the TA on a jihad into the heart of the Eurozone.

All they do is invent stupid laws to justify their existance (read expenses). Their job should be integrating the countries of Europe not inventing whitewash, horse sh1t laws on the shapes of bananas and driving.

For a start, why haven't Europe started driving on the correct side of the road yet? :)
 
#5
I wonder if other EU reserve forces ie the French or the Germans are being hit by this? Anybody know?
 
#8
armchair_jihad said:
Working hours rules wipe out weekend troops








One big employer, Royal Mail, has already told the drivers of its 30,000-strong fleet that part-time work with reserve forces will not be allowed when the law, designed to improve safety on roads, comes into force on April 11.

Hundreds of its staff are thought to be affected.


Drivers are obliged to take up to 45 hours' rest after working a full week but from April, they will have to provide employers with time sheets detailing time spent on the road. Falsifying declarations will be a criminal offence, and employers will be held liable.

The unwelcome side effect of the EU regulation came to light when a Royal Mail driver, an infantryman with the TA, contacted his local Euro MP, independent Ashley Mote, after being warned about his second job by his main employer.The man, who asked not to be named, told The Sunday Telegraph: "This must affect lots of people, including firemen and special constables.

"I'm amazed. I don't blame the Royal Mail, because they are just complying with the law. But why didn't the Government think about this earlier? The reserve forces are a quarter of the whole Army."

.


"Not even the Territorial Army is exempt from this rule. Drivers will be asked to provide these records at the roadside and employers will have to keep them for 12 months. Falsifying records will be a serious offence and offenders can end up in prison." A Royal Mail spokesman said: "We want to be flexible and to see our people continue to serve in the Territorial Army, but we also must ensure we comply with the law.

"Our commitment to supporting our people in the reserve forces remains strong."


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/index.jhtml
I work for Royal Mail, I had considered taking an MT driving test so I can drive Army Land Rovers, Minibus in the ACF, It seems that is out, the only time I could legally drive would on annual camps when I won't be at work, and I drive vans as well as a 7.5T lorry, this does have implications, as my overtime opportunity is reduced, my earnings will go down, I will also be obliged to refuse overtime over a certain number of hours, you can work over on one day but you "pay it back" the following week in reduced hours to balance it out.

shame really, as I was actually looking forward to taking up an Army MT licence and be able to do more for the kids.
 
#9
Bliar and his cretins failed to exempt them from EU regulations which they could have easily done.

How is this the fault of the EU?
 
#11
armchair_jihad said:
I wonder if other EU reserve forces ie the French or the Germans are being hit by this? Anybody know?
chances are they will ignore it as per usual
 
#12
I suspect if the Government acknowledged the existence of the drivers working at the weekend, it would threaten their position that TA reservists are not part-time workers.
 
#13
Isn't it a bit chicken and Egg? By that I mean, if the TA isn't exempt, wouldn't the drivers all be over their hours for TA purposes as well, should they wish to drive? (I know they are applying it to all TA work and not just driving, on the Drive/ Work/ Rest principle?)

I'm not an expert by any means (that's what the MTO's for!), but how do they legislate for someone who goes and runs a marathon, competes in a Triathlon or climbs mountains at the weekend- all of which would leave you considerable more weary than a study weekend, for example? Does the work being paid make a difference?
 
#14
Max_Bialystock said:
Isn't it a bit chicken and Egg? By that I mean, if the TA isn't exempt, wouldn't the drivers all be over their hours for TA purposes as well, should they wish to drive? (I know they are applying it to all TA work and not just driving, on the Drive/ Work/ Rest principle?)

I'm not an expert by any means (that's what the MTO's for!), but how do they legislate for someone who goes and runs a marathon, competes in a Triathlon or climbs mountains at the weekend- all of which would leave you considerable more weary than a study weekend, for example? Does the work being paid make a difference?
In one :thumright:
 
#15
Exctly Max, the law is complete bollox, invented by someone who probably has never worked in the driving industry.
 
#16
chocolate_frog said:
Exctly Max, the law is complete bollox, invented by someone who probably has never worked in the driving industry.
Thank you Frog- it's Sunday, my brain is slow and I just wanted to check I hadn't gone mad.

So, do we expect a Policy letter any time soon, or is that wishful thinking...
 
#17
Yes: You are a professional driver and in the TA, so next time you turn up, please bring your kit in.

msr
 
#18
So let me get this straight, I drive a truck all week, mon-fri, turn up at the TA on fri night, I'm allowed to drive that night but as soon as it hits 45 hrs count down to me driving in my civvie job I'm no longer allowed to drive?

But I am allowed to stag on a radio for the next 45 hours with minimum sleep? Sounds fcuking bonkers to me!
 

Alsacien

LE
Moderator
#19
Its not the EU rule thats the problem - nobody wants knackered truck drivers - and its a reasonable attempt to put a baseline on a problem that is big in continental Europe (cannot comment on UK), especially with trade coming and going East.
The problem [again] is the lack of thought and provision for the military and its specific needs - the paper was out for consultation, so dont blame the EU when UK gov plc does not bother to answer......
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#20
A couple of points -

It's not the working at weekends for the TA that's the problem - MoD is indeed exempt under the EU rules, always has been. The trouble starts on Monday, when the work you did over the weekend (ANY paid work, not just driving) now counts against rest time. So, unpaid work is OK (driving Scouts to Cumbria and back) but paid work (TA) is not.

The Dept of Tpt are saying that the rules haven't changed - just the interpretation. The EU saw that the rules were being blatantly ignored (E.g. a relief coach driver could follow a coach in a car, and swap over whenever, but not travel in the coach, as that was not 'rest'). The EU clamped down, and from 11th April all vocational drivers in the TA are buggered- IF their Firm says so. We will have to rely on the goodwill of employers and many, like the Royal Mail, don't have any.

Oh, and the French are not affected - their Govt interprets their opt-out for the Military rather more sensibly.
 

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