Midlands Spar wholesaler AF Blakemore has become the latest company to raise drivers’ pay before the Working Time Directive comes into force in March next year.
The 27% pay increase, which comes into effect on February 1, follows a deal struck for the Co-operative Group’s distribution arm ACC Transport which boosted drivers’ pay by 18.5%. Shopworkers’ union Usdaw (The Grocer, Nov 29, p10), which negotiated both rises, is predicting a spate of similar deals as drivers seek to boost basic pay rates as their overtime is cut back.
The directive would restrict drivers to a 48-hour average working week, about nine to 10 hours less than the current average, according to AF Blakemore transport manager Jason Dibble.
Although the deal would increase the company’s wage bill, there were some plus points, he added: “This allows us to attract top-class drivers and reduce the number of agency staff on our books.”