Hargreaves truck

Specialist bulk and waste carrier Hargreaves Transport Services (HTS) is raising the rate it pays subcontracted drivers in an attempt to develop a more stable relationship with them.

The 3% rise, to be applied from 1 December, will add £750,000 a year to HTS’s costs. But the County Durham-based operator believes the move will help create a more loyal and equitable relationship with its 450 regular subcontractors, 105 of whom work solely for HTS.

Neil Sowerby, HTS operations manager, described the move as a “major commitment” to its “highly valued” subcontractors.

Sowerby said: “We recognise that life is hard for subcontractors and that availability and supply of good quality and compliant subbies is reducing year on year.

“If the subcontractor rate isn’t sufficient you can’t cover the work and sooner or later have to address the issue with the customer. We have decided to be proactive, paying what they need now, not on a piecemeal basis.”

The 3% rate rise equates to an extra 15p per tonne, a sum HTS hopes to recoup through operation efficiencies and rate increases from customers.