Tarmac has been forced to suspend the roll out of its new night shift pay rate, just days after its launch, following angry opposition from its partner hauliers.

The new rate introduced last week, which saw haulier partners’ nightly incomes slashed by up to 40%, prompted widespread protests from hauliers with some refusing to work under the rate, forcing Tarmac to bring in non-contracted hauliers on certain sites.

As opposition mounted and just days after the new rate was launched, Sean McGrae, Tarmac senior manager of national transport, wrote to partner hauliers to inform them that the company had suspended the new pay rate and was reinstating the previous pay rate while it carries out a “full review”.

As part of the review, which is expected to run for four weeks, Tarmac said it will also consult with its partner hauliers.

The letter states: “We appreciate that currently there are a lot of concerns that have been raised and as a result have agreed to several calls to discuss with groups of hauliers.”

He added: “On our calls we will be looking for some key, focussed, fact-based feedback to support a full review of the night payment scheme.

“In the meantime, we plan to suspend the change for the time being whilst these discussions are ongoing and so we will revert everyone back to the payments as they were in your area for all night work you have completed up to now.

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“We will look to resolve this in the next four weeks or so and then introduce a new scheme that works for everyone.”

Tarmac partner hauliers welcomed news of the review. One told motortransport.co.uk: “Consulting partner hauliers was the first thing they should have done as this was clearly never going to work. They never talked to us at all. This whole thing has been completely mismanaged.”

Another told us: “It is hard to believe Tarmac would do this to us in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic when we’re already struggling. Hopefully the review will now give us a fair rate.”

The new night time rate saw Tarmac remove the “turn-up” fee of around £180 per truck, whilst add-on payments, such as waiting time and transfer payments - previously paid separately – were included in a nightly flat fee of between £300 and £325.

It was rolled out nationally last week following a trial with Tarmac partner hauliers in London and the South East last year.

Tarmac told motortransport.co.uk that only a “small number” of hauliers had refused to work on the new rates.

A spokeswoman added: “Following concerns raised by some of our haulage partners in relation to the introduction of the new night payment scheme we have decided to temporarily pause its wider rollout while further consultation and discussion is carried out.

"We recognise the importance of working with our partners to agree positive next steps and look forward to delivering a scheme which creates the best opportunity for a win-win approach where hauliers are supported with the certainty of night earnings and vehicles are utilised as efficiently as possible."