Former MT assistant editor is new RHA policy chief

Jack Semple has joined the RHA as its director of policy. He replaces Karen Dee who has moved to the CBI.

Semple takes up his new post at the end of the month, having served eight years on the staff of Motor Transport, latterly as assistant editor, news and technical.

Drivers' pay soars by 9.4%

Artic drivers' basic hourly pay has risen sharply by an average 9.4%, according to new figures from Incomes Data Services.

The pay leap is despite suggestions that recruitment and retention difficulties could be easing.

The survey of pay and conditions in 104 haulage firms, in association with the RHA, reveals the average hourly basic rate for an artic driver is £8.23 an hour, 9.4% up on last year. Drivers of rigid vehicles are paid 6.4% more than last year at £7.60 an hour.

A quarter of firms told IDS the recruitment and retention situation had improved. The RHA's head of employment, Ruth Pott, says that "things seemed to have quietened down" on the skills shortage front, although, she adds, "we haven't really established a reason for that".

Nearly half of companies said a lack of qualified drivers was the largest factor affecting turnover and just 14 companies said they employed drivers from EU accession states, of which 12 specified they employed Polish workers.

Pay settlement levels for the road transport sector are at a median 3.2%, says the IDS report.

Latest figures from the FTA's Manager's guide to distribution costs, meanwhile, show that pay settlement levels averaged 2.8% in the nine months to October 2006.

The full IDS report Pay in road transport and distribution 2006/07 costs £275. To order call 0845 600 9355.