Friday, April 8, 2011

Strikes And Tax Boycott Likely In Haulage Industry As Truckers Threaten Militancy

Irish Hauliers to Vote Tomorrow
Shipping News Feature

IRELAND - The 38th Annual General Meeting of the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) which takes place tomorrow will see the trucker’s representative’s vote on a motion to withdraw their services nationwide in protest at the Governments failure to address the impact of rising fuel costs on their business. Delegates representing over a thousand freight and haulage companies throughout the country will also debate and vote on a motion to withhold VAT and Pay-Related Social Insurance (PRSI) payments until the Government responds to its call to introduce a fuel duty rebate.

The weekend is likely to see matters brought to a head after the demise of hundreds of the country’s haulage companies at a time when the economy is staggering under the weight of debt. Many freight carriers blame the government after seeing their costs soar with the cost of running a truck up around €15,000 per year according to Mr. Vincent Caulfield, President of the Association who said in a statement:

“Rising fuel costs are crippling haulage companies. The anger amongst delegates has been intensified by the new Government’s failure to engage on the issue or to recognise their role in guaranteeing the provision of professional and reliable transport services. The haulage industry contributed over €1 billion to the Irish Exchequer in 2010 and the sector employs over 50,000 people. Rising fuel costs forced over 250 haulage companies to fail or cease trading in 2010 and almost as many are currently on the brink of closure.

“Hauliers paid over €365 million in fuel duty, inclusive of carbon tax, and €45 million in road tax in 2010. Our members are disappointed and incensed by Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan’s failure to even acknowledge our request for a meeting with the Department of Finance. The anger amongst members has reached boiling point.

“Proposals by Government permitting (farm) tractors to engage in road haulage and to pull heavy goods trailers on Irish roads have exacerbated the situation and inflamed the mood of hauliers ahead of the conference. The motions tabled for this year’s Annual Conference typify the mood of members and their belief that their plight continues to be ignored by the new Government. There is a growing consensus that the Association must take decisive action.”