The responsibility of loading and unloading raises many controversies across Europe. Although they are not part of drivers’ tasks, many companies require drivers to undertake them. According to one Spanish carriers’ organisation, the pandemic should drive the authorities to ban truckers from working on the ramp.
The Spanish Federation of Transport Associations Fenadismer, called on the Ministry of Transport to prohibit drivers from loading and unloading. In a time of the pandemic, which is taking a huge toll in Spain, such a ban would be fully justified. It is about the health and safety of a professional group that carries out important work for the economy.
The organisation applauds the European Commission’s guidelines that truckers should not carry out the above-mentioned tasks, but these are only guidelines. In Fenadismer’s opinion, only an actual ban could have the desired effect in this respect.
According to a survey carried out by the federation among its members, despite the pandemic and Brussels guidelines, at least 64% of shippers still require drivers to perform loading or unloading.
It should not come as a surprise that the coronavirus pandemic has triggered another debate on the duties of the driver on the ramp. Fenadismer has been fighting for years to ensure that truckers do not have to unload or load goods.
“And it is for many reasons, but we can boil them down to one: it is about justice,” explains the federation in its official announcement.
Drivers are drivers, not warehouse workers. They do not need to know how to operate the loading and/or unloading equipment, they do not need to enter the shippers’ warehouses to bring their goods there and, above all, because the shippers only pay for the carriage of the goods, the other tasks are carried out on the account of the carrier and at the expense of the health and rest of the driver,” reminds Fenadismer.
The current situation, which forces drivers to increase and reduce their contacts with warehouse and unloading staff, can paradoxically help to solve the long-standing problem of working on-ramps. Perhaps due to the coronavirus pandemic, duties that do not belong to truckers will finally be taken over by the loading and unloading personnel. This will certainly be good for everyone, especially since the health and safety of drivers, their families and colleagues are at stake at the moment.