Advice on WTD required

Having just come back into trucking after a two year hiatus, I am now confronting the WTD head on like the rest of us.

Having read some of the posts on here it would appear that most companies are embracing this thing from the point of view of the driver. However, my own company is not.

We have a total of 75 drivers - driving skip wagons, roll-on-offs, tippers and a number of curtainside artics. We were TOLD of a meeting that was taking place on Thursday night just gone and who OUR representative at that meeting would be…as a new-start I hadn’t a clue who the guy was and he didn’t appear to be very amiable or approachable. On these counts I wasn’t too enamoured.

At the meeting it was said that for the likes of us skip drivers that time spent netting, un-netting, waiting to get on-site and writing up paperwork etc WILL NOT be classed as Working Time, but a Period of Availability - which flies directly in the face of the WTD.

We are all being given new time sheets from next week whereupon we will be expected to write down every activity we get up to on each and every job. So, if you carry out 8 or 9 skip exchanges in a day you will be doing a helluva lot of writing. But the ironic thing is all these non-PoA’s WILL be considered as PoA’s. As a collective body the drivers have decided we will not be doing this - we will fill in the same information as we do now.

The company is also pushing for the reference period to be 26 weeks instead of our hoped for 17 weeks. We will be ballotted on this and we have all decided to vote for 17 weeks but the company has been accused of ballot-rigging in the past!!

There is no Trade Union on-site…

The company is adamant that the 48 hour working week will be adhered to strictly but there will be no increase in pay-rate. They will be bringing in new bodies to fill-up and clean the wagons so we won’t be hanging about at the end of the day adding extra valuable minutes to our working time. It looks to me and the rest of the drivers as if we are about to be shafted.

Any advice from you guys and girls about what sort of action we should consider and whether the company is within it’s legal rights to act in this way■■?

Kind Regards,


Thats an easy one mate.
There are three options that I can see.

  1. Shut up and do what your told. :open_mouth:
  2. Walk.
  3. All the drivers stick together and get the job sorted right. :unamused: :unamused: .

At the meeting it was said that for the likes of us skip drivers that time spent netting, un-netting, waiting to get on-site and writing up paperwork etc WILL be classed as Working Time, not a Period of Availability - which flies directly in the face of the WTD.


Isn’t that how it should be ? All other work classed as “working time”, and POA for “waiting time” not known in advance ? ie: not counted towards your “working week”, along with breaks…

My firm have come up with a bright idea…

Just leave your tacho on POA lads, business as usual :frowning:

Sorry Steve - I got my information all muddled. Please see the updated edited version.



But POA is waiting time that is known about in advance, either by being told on arrival, or because it is always like that or because you are early for your slot, etc.

Working time counts as anything else such as loading, tipping, driving, vehicle checks and paperwork.

And Tacho rules take precedence over WTD

If they are bringing in extra staff for fuelling, cleaning, tidying up at the nd of the day, then they appear to be trying to work within the regulations.

As for the 26 week option, I can understand that. Whilst not conversant with that sector, I would speculate that, like the building supply trade, demand is cyclical, busy March to September/October, and then the work tapers off. A 26 week pattern would allow these fluctuations to fit the business profile.

As I see it, from a management point of view, if after week 14/15, a driver has completed 712 working hours, then he MUST be laid off, and cannot be utilised in another capacity (or work for an agency).

If such an event happens because he failed to properly record POA’s/breaks, then there is an option for disciplianry actions for negligence, in which case he is unlikely to be paid. However, if the accruement of Working Hours is due to the demands of the business, then payment should still be due.

Just remember that there is no minimum time for a POA. So if you turn up to deliver/collect a skip, and the customer has to move his car, and then his dizzy daughter has to move her car, but can’t find the keys, and then the ‘oink’ of the household has to drag his arse out of bed, to move his, and first needs to select the correct auditory output from the boom-boxes for fear of losing ‘street cred’. Easily ten minutes.

Whilst not specific in the wording of the regulations, such delays are to be expected and therefore countable as POA’s within the spirit of the legislation.

Consider the plight of the Mixer driver. Six metres of concrete and the workmen are building a rear extension and have only one wheelbarrow. It’ll probably take an hour and a half, but probably more than half of that time will be spent standing around doing nothing. Waiting for someone else to get on with their job before you can do yours. POA

John Major, as Prime Minister, made a speech, and whilst I am unable to find a transctipt of it, basically said that although we are obligated to comply with EU legislation, we didn’t need to be over zealous in its enforcement. Similarly, the current adminstration were badly served by the prosecution of the ‘Metric Martyrs’.

Gordon Brown, in his Budget speech, made reference to EU legislation, although I’m still unsure of what he meant.

This is new legislation and VOSA, who have the responsibility for enforcement, will undoubtedly have been instructed to adopt a ‘light touch’ for the first year. Acting predominantly on specific complaints, and enquiring as to what systems have been put into place when conducting regular visits.

Paul, it’s good to see you back.

I thought POA only become POA when someone informs you how long you will be waiting around for. Like at an RDC ‘We’ll be with you in an hour drive’ or the fitter says ‘I’ll have it fixed in an half an hour’.
Have I got it wrong or is standing around for a couple of minutes waiting for my lines to be signed classed as POA?

True, but it very much depends on interpretation

What is a period of availability (PoA)?
Generally speaking a period of availability (PoA) is waiting time whose duration is known about in advance by the mobile worker. Under the regulations, these periods have to meet the following criteria:
n A mobile worker should not be required to remain at his workstation
n (but) he must be available to answer calls to start work or resume driving on request; and
n the period and the foreseeable duration should be known in advance either before departure or just before the start of the period in question.

Therefore, going back to my earlier examples, arriving at a house and finding that a number of vehicles need to be moved is just before the start of the period in question. And an expectation of the delay can be assessed from experience. Is the driver assesses ten minutes, but it only takes 7. Then seven minutes can be counted. However, if he assesses 7 minutes, and it takes 10, then only 7 can be counted. (Although there appears to be nothing to prevent after 7 minutes, a second period being commenced)

Similarly, the Mixer delivery with one wheelbarrow, it very soon becomes apparent that a significant amount of time will be spent doing nothing, albeit broken up into periods of 2 or 3 minutes.

Whilst the first paragraph does state,

whose duration is known about in advance by the mobile worker.

it does not specify how far in advance.

What the Regs/guidance does not allow is, retrospective counting. “If I had known it was going to take ths long then I would have shown it as a POA.”

Like everything else, nothing is certain until it has been tested through the Courts, but the better the understanding of the wording, the greater the flexibility in its application.

It’s good to be back Krankee.

This WTD certainly is confusing. As a skip driver I can say with some certainty that we will be hit as badly as multi-drop drivers when it comes to the application of Working Time and Periods Of Availability. In my experience it is quite rare for me to be kept waiting when I turn up at a job; even if it’s on a building site. Generally speaking the skips are easily accessible and I can lift or exchange it without the need for any help. Depending on the size of the skip; 8 yard open or 14 yard open, the netting can be quite problematic - especially if there are alot of ‘snags’ among the material in the skip. It’s not unusual for the netting and de-netting at the coup, to take in excess of a combined 10 minutes. This cannot be classed as a PoA, which is unfortunate as it would have been a good way to claw back some precious minutes.

In our yard the most vociferous voices are those of the tipper drivers - the ones who in my opinion have the least to worry about. They are regularly told waiting times when they arrive at a job, which is a ■■■■-sight less than us skippers. They at least will be able to claw back not only minutes, but hours, whereas us skip drivers will be left with precious little to count toward PoA’s.

Rumours are abound in our yard that a pay increase is on the cards to compensate for the arrival of the WTD. I will see what transpires in the forthcoming days. However, before that we have to submit to a ballot on whether we prefer the 17 or 26 week reference period. The company is all for the 26 week period, whereas the majority of the drivers are ASKING for all the drivers to present a 17 week vote. It appears to me that the purpose of selecting 17 weeks is to conflict with the company’s request; had they requested 17 weeks I’m sure the voices would have asked us to vote for 26. Personally I feel there is more to be gained for the driver from the longer reference period and a vote against that could be a severe shot in the foot. As a newcomer to the company I don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb by not voting with the majority, but at the same time I don’t want to appear like some sheep who goes along with the rest just for the sake of it. Decisions, decisions.

So far this week we have had 5 drivers hand in their notice and/or leave. That trend seems set to continue with more dissenting voices being raised every day. I too am thinking of moving on and have made inroads into such a decision. That follows on from me being given my very own wagon at the company - a 53 plated Scania 94D 230. The previous driver wasn’t very keen on keeping his workplace clean as the cab was manky when I jumped into it on Thursday morning. However, a few wet-wipes and a tin of pledge later the cab looks alot better. But the truck has some unwanted history…

On my return from my second job of the day on Thursday morning, one of my colleagues asked what I was doing with that particular wagon. I replied that it was mine from now on, as the previous driver had walked out on the company on Tuesday. “So they’ve given you the death-wagon then?” Was his reply.
“The what■■?” I countered.
“The death-wagon. That’s the truck that the guy was killed on last year.”
I recalled the story of a former driver who, whilst in the confines of the yard was attempting to separate two skips. Apparently the chap had only been with the company a matter of weeks (a bit like myself) and was relatively inexperienced. For some reason the skips became stuck during the separation process and the driver walked around the back of the wagon to investigate the root of the problem. What posessed him to put his head in the gap between the two skips no-one knows, but the skips became unstuck crushing his head as they slammed together. I believe he was trapped for some 15 minutes before someone noticed him. The story is his head was severely crushed, but he was still alive - whether he was aware of what was going on is subject to conjecture, but I like to think he was blissfully unaware. I am not sure whether he was pronounced dead at the site or at the hospital, but he did not survive. The truck however was declared to be not at fault and was put back in service. It has now passed down to me…and I don’t think it likes me…

Now, call me old-fashioned, but I don’t buy into this posessed vehicles thing - the book and film ‘Christine’ were works of fiction and that’s all they are. But this truck has seen the death of one driver and the disintegration of the marriage of the previous driver! Also, on Saturday I received a minor crush injury to my hand as I was putting the booms down - the revs suddenly and inexplicably raised causing the speed of the descent to increase, momentarily jamming my left-hand between the boom and the body of the truck. I managed to release my hand almost instantly, but the ‘posessed’ thought did cross my mind.

A little later on though I had cause to question the ‘posessed’ theory again. Approaching a set of traffic lights I was driving behind a Renault Laguna. The Laguna, as it passed through the lights suddenly slowed right down causing me to attempt a change down from high ratio into the lower ratio. I noticed the lights had changed to amber as the Laguna went through and knew I was border-line on getting through before they went to red. I decided that as I was carrying about 6 tons and the lights preceeded a right-turn, that I could make it. Then the gear-box decided it wouldn’t engage any gear. For what seemed an eternity I stirred the gear stick through the box in an attempt to find fourth or third in the lower ratio (I was travelling at less than 10mph). As I finally found third gear I crossed the white line at the lights and watched as a split-second later they turned from amber to red. Deciding I had enough of a momentum to keep going I kicked on the gas and made the turn. I was aware that even at such a slow speed to slam on the anchors would have seen the skip on-board slide up the body of the truck and career into the head-board behind me - I didn’t want to take that chance either. As I began to raise my speed and flicked from low to high ratio I looked into my mirrors and saw a police car; complete with blue lights-a-flashing zooming up behind me. I immediately signalled and pulled into the side, hoping he just wanted past. Not a chance - he pulled in at my back. The non-driving PC came to my passenger door and asked if I would like to have a seat in their car…I shook my head in disbelief, but complied. To my sever bad-luck these were the traffic boys; not your local constabulary wallahs, and they weren’t in the mood for mitigating circumstances. I explained that I felt the lights were still with me, albeit at amber, as I crossed the line. They felt otherwise. I mentioned about my weight and the problem I had finding a gear but they weren’t in a listening mood. Besides, the ticket was half written before I got in the back. 5 minutes later I was back in the truck with a £60 fine and a future three-points on my licence. I am gutted, absolutely gutted. I haven’t had the heart to tell the wife yet as it has been our son’s 7th birthday today and the weekend has been going so well that I don’t want to put a dampner on things just yet. But I still don’t buy into the ‘posessed truck’ theory. Not yet anyway…but stay tuned, that might change soon! Should anything else come to light about the vehicle or any other bad luck befall me, I will let you know.

Kind Regards,



It appears that you will have to have audience with you lord and master King Micheal to discuss your future in skip world. You have to work out what length of RTD reference period time, 17 or 26 weeks suits your job and how it affects your wages. Make your own decision but also listen to your work mates views…you may just get a wage rise if you all stick together. At the end of the day you will have to work within the regulations,with whoever you work for. For many it will mean being creative with POD’s and doing more paper work/recording. We WILL not gain substantially out of this legislation, propably long term we will lose. But you have no great option if you wish to remain in the industry.
Personally I think the legislation is going to fall flat on it’s face, ‘TRIPLE U’ (unwanted, unworkable and unaffordable !!!)

Re- you ‘posessed truck’…if it worries you so much simply ask your TM for the oldest most clapped out motor in the yard …you will be guaranted to get it because some other muppet will want a newer truck regardless of it’s history. You will also be gifted a lot more ‘Periods of Availability’ with the old motor since it will be unavailable to work a lot more.

Not that i’m totaly thick but for me trying to understand WTO seems beyond me and everytime i look into it i get a sore head :confused:

Just a quickie…

went to work this morning and was told; “sorry, the ‘death-truck’ is being assigned to someone else!”. :smiley:

Result!!! And I didn’t even open my mouth - there must be a spy in here. :wink:

Kind Regards,


Not that i’m totaly thick but for me trying to understand WTO seems beyond me and everytime i look into it i get a sore head :confused:

There is a translation of it at the top of this forum mate, from law makers jargon into English. Have a look and a think about it, then have a look through the site on all the posts about it (there is a search button at the top of every page) and have another think. Once you’ve done that, ask us specific questions and we’ll try to sort you out.

When it comes down to it, if your employer gives you a sheet of paper with the WTD on it, they have informed you all about it, so came wash there hands.Your boss can stand up in court and tell the judge, " I gave him all the info on it". If you dont understand it, you could leave yourself wide open to trouble. You saying to the Judge, “Well I didn’t understand it”, will do you now good at all.

Simon. My agency sent me new style time sheets though the post this week but nothing eles about WTD so i have printed out the easy to read version from this site. Its easier for me to read off computer as otherwise i get square eyes.