The FTA’s head of licencing policy and compliance information James Firth said: “This would count as ‘other work’ and does not affect driving time under drivers’ hours rules, but would be a consideration under working time rules.
“Employers have a responsibility under Health and Safety at Work laws to ensure that employees have had appropriate training for the tasks they are expected to carry out.”
Lorry drivers and their union representatives slammed Aldi and Lidl, after being forced to do the jobs of warehouse staff as part of the discount retailers’ efforts to cut prices.
Drivers complained that they were not being paid more to take on the extra work and the training was not good enough.
Lorry driver David Janczak-Hogarth told BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme the discounters were exploiting drivers.
“It was obvious to me the only reason you were doing it [unloading deliveries] was for the benefit of whichever discount supermarket it was that you were visiting. And you forego quality control by letting any Tom, Dick or Harry in your warehouse to unload their vehicle,” he said.
Union Unite warned of the dangers of allowing drivers to empty their own loads and called on Aldi and Lidl to stop the practice.
National officer for road transport Adrian Jones said: “A couple of years ago a driver died while unloading a delivery – not Aldi and Lidl but it shows how dangerous this can be. Things can happen when a professional driver is asked to do a job outside of their remit.”
Kept its prices low
However, Aldi told You and Yours that allowing drivers to unload their deliveries was one of the ways it kept its prices low. It also allowed drivers to get back on the road more quickly.
“We operate an efficient business model and pass on savings to customers who benefit from the lowest grocery prices in the UK,” said Aldi.
“The majority of hauliers support this process as it saves them time and money. It means they can quickly get back on the road after unloading.”
Lidl said it had a policy of drivers unloading their own vehicles and it was not the only company to do so. Regulators confirmed that the practice was widespread across the industry, Lidl said.