Hauliers confident of business strength in next 12 months, CM research reveals

Hauliers remain upbeat about their business performance in the next 12 months, new research has revealed, with nearly half expecting a degree of upturn compared with 2020: 16% believe things will be “significantly better” and 30% “slightly better”.

Just under a quarter of operators believed they would fare the same in terms of performance, while 22% were expecting a slightly worse or signicantly worse year ahead.

Whilst resilience remains high for the sector, the ‘Asset Alliance Group Industry Monitor 2021’, also highlights a more modest ambition when it comes to the amount of company uplift.

Of those operators expecting business growth, one-third predicted this to be between 0.1% and 4.9% and a further 36% put it between 5% and 9.9%.

At the more ambitious end of the scale, 9% expected to grow at a level above 20%.

Free to download, the ‘Asset Alliance Group Industry Monitor 2021’, complied in partnership with Motor Transport and Commercial Motor, comprises a 625-strong respondent base and provides a robust insight into the decisions made by UK operators.

A must-read for all fleet operators, it provides analysis of key challenges – such as urban regulations, the national driver shortage and truck crime – and gauges the impact they are having on business of all sizes.

Download your free copy today.


Driver wins unfair dismissal case

A lorry driver sacked from his job after he was spotted drinking and smoking outside a social club while on sick leave was unfairly dismissed, according to an employment tribunal.

Colin Kane, 66, was a driver for Ryton-based surfacing firm Debmat and suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It meant he had periods of absence due to ill-health and it was during one of these that he was spotted by a colleague at a social club in March 2020. Debmat’s MD John Turner later phoned Kane, who told him he had been in bed all day, although he later admitted to being at the social club for 15 minutes one day and 30 minutes on another. The driver was then told he was being investigated for “dishonesty and breach of company regulations”. At a disciplinary meeting led by the MD, Kane was dismissed and in a follow-up letter it said he was guilty of a serious and wilful breach of the company’s rules, which was considered to be gross misconduct.

However, an employment tribunal found that Debmat’s investigation was flawed. Judge Pitt said there were errors in making a proper record of the allegations against Kane.

In his judgment, he said: “There is no rule the respondent can point to, which says that an employee cannot socialise in whatever way they deem appropriate whilst absent from work through illness.” Among other failings, the Judge also said it was also inappropriate for the MD to deal with the disciplinary hearing as he was the person who took the initial complaint.