Skylight. Photo for illustration.Photo: Shutterstock/Philip Lange

The chronic global shortage of professional truck, bus, coach and taxi drivers is accelerating and affecting millions of road transport workers. This is according to IRU, the worldwide employers’ organization for road transport. Together with the International Transport Workers’ Federation (IFT), IRU has come up with a three-point plan to combat this trend.

“The driver shortage is quickly getting out of hand,” said Umberto de Pretto, IRU Secretary General. “Balancing the global labor supply and demand for simple measures to facilitate legal immigration and end the exploitation of non-resident drivers is one way to solve the problem, support decent work and provide vital road transport services moving.”

Ageing According to IRU, approximately 08 percent of driver positions worldwide were unfilled last year. “With up to a third of drivers retiring within the next three years in many countries, unfilled driver positions could more than double by 2023” , according to the employers’ association.

To counter this, IRU, together with IFT (international trade union federation for transport providers ed.), has drawn up a three-point plan. The plan aims to better balance national labor pools. Within the plan, special roles are reserved for this for the United Nations (UN), national governments and the sector itself.

Modal framework For example, IRU calls on the UN and international organizations to develop a modal framework with clear guidelines to protect non-resident drivers. The International Employers’ Organization is asking national governments to change and enforce stricter labor immigration procedures to protect non-resident drivers, reduce bureaucracy and facilitate legal immigration for current and potential drivers. IRU asks the transport sector itself to develop operational integration programs for non-resident drivers, so that they receive the same conditions as domestic workers.

Other solutions include subsidizing licensing and training costs, building safer and more secure parking areas with better facilities, encouraging more women and youth to enter the profession and improving the treatment of drivers.

Cooperation “Governments, transport employers and transport’s multinational customers must work with unions to create decent work and end driver shortages,” said ITF Secretary General Stephen Cotton. “Road transport will only be able to attract and retain drivers if it is based on cooperation between all stakeholders and rights holders to ensure decent work, fundamental labor rights and genuine social protection.”

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