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Drivers 'working too many hours'

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A large proportion of bus and van drivers are putting in much longer hours than other workers due to out-of-date employment regulations in the sector and pressure to work through breaks, a report claims.

The TUC said one in four bus drivers work almost 50 hours a week while a similar number of van drivers put in 48 hours. This compares with an average working week in the UK of about 39 hours.

The union also said many drivers are not having proper breaks due to demands in timetables or meeting delivery schedules. It said they should be given the right to take a proper break and prevented from, or a least not pressured into, working excessive hours.

In a submission to the transport department the TUC argued that rules governing drivers hours are 30 years old and urgently need updating.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Long hours can damage the health of any worker but the risks for drivers are particularly serious.

"Drivers forced to work extra long shifts are more likely to get tired at the wheel and are at risk of being involved in road accidents."

© Press Association 2009