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In a decisive move the agency driver specialist ADR Network has announced that it is to offer fulltime permanent contracts to its drivers based on a guaranteed 37.5 hour working week averaged over a 13 week period. The move comes at a time when the industry is looking at how to respond to the Agency Workers Regulations.

Agency drivers are often attracted by the flexibility that agency work can provide and as such ADR Network is also offering drivers, within the contracts, a significant number of days which they can elect as rest or ‘non working days’.

It is estimated that if the majority of drivers take up this option then ADR Network will shortly employ some 700, drivers making it one of the largest employers in Bedfordshire. It is anticipated that this figure could rise to 900 given the current growth rate of the business.

The Regulations came into force in October and agencies are arguably struggling to respond to a Directive that in principle gives temporary workers the same rights as employed workers after 12 weeks of work. Some organisations have announced a move to employed status but often with very limited guarantees of work. This has attracted some negative comment from various sources.

Commenting on the 37.5 hour guaranteed contracts ADR Network MD Andrew Waldron said:

“This is a bold move by us. We started looking at all the options available to us over a year ago and there was initially a temptation to err on the side of caution. We have talked this through with major users of agency drivers and it is clear that they are not hostile to the Regulations but do need a positive solution to the challenges it poses.

As a business we have always attempted to look at the needs of not only the customer but also the driver. Drivers want flexibility whilst customers need a reliable supply of drivers. The move to guaranteed contracts of worth will meet the needs of the Regulations, strengthen our position with customers and show an unmatched commitment to the needs of agency drivers.”

These sentiments have been endorsed by ADR Network drivers who have responded positively to the move. Amir Mokhtari who has been registered with ADR Network since 2006 said:

“The new contracts being offered by ADR Network are perfect for older drivers who do not want full time work and want to decide when and how much they work but they are also perfect for younger drivers who may have families and mortgages who typically cannot work with agencies because they need a level of guaranteed earnings.”