MD of Parrys International adds to recent discussion on coach drivers’ hours reform
The Managing Director of Parrys International has called for the urgent reintroduction of the 12-day derogation for coach tourism drivers on domestic work, saying that the current position is harming the sector.
Dave Parry believes the rule preventing drivers from delaying a weekly rest break is limiting options for operators and adding to the driver shortage.
It comes after recent European Commission (EC) and Confederation of Passenger Transport proposals both included extending the circumstances around the postponement of a weekly rest period to domestic travel to align with rules for international work.
Mr Parry, whose business marks its 50th anniversary this year, protested against the 2006 EC directive on driver hours and wants the retained EU law in this respect to be changed. He believes it is unfair for coach drivers to be subject to the same rules as HGV drivers.
“We don’t drive the same way,” he says. “Some days we might only do 15 minutes, but it’s still classed as a full day’s work. There’s not very often a lot of mileage involved. That’s why tourism is different.”
Coach tourism is unfairly treated, he believes, adding: “It doesn’t make sense – it’s like dragging a captain off a cruise ship and saying, ‘sorry you’ve done six days, you’ve got to come off’.”
Application of the regulations as it stands harms operators’ flexibility to offer domestic tours of more than six days, or use the same driver on consecutive tours, says Mr Parry. Operators sometimes have to use hotels that wouldn’t otherwise be first-choice due to clients needing somewhere to visit on driver rest days.
“It’s not good for us, it’s not good for clients and it’s not good for drivers,” he continues. “They don’t want to be forced to have days off when they’re on tour. We’ve lost enough drivers as it is. It needs to be changed as soon as possible.”