Brexit has left many empty shelves in UK stores, although it did so for unexpected reasons:
– “One of the main problems is the shortage of drivers, plus red tape, all the paperwork, and updating the necessary legislation… these two things combined have completely slowed the supply down,” explains Matt Hargreaves, a grocery store manager.
The exodus of European workers after Brexit has exacerbated the shortage of heavy vehicle drivers that the country has already experienced. The pandemic hasn’t helped either.
– “Modern supply chains are really complex, they depend on many parts, labor supplies, truck drivers, and if one or more of those parts don’t work well, there are shortages. And this is very likely to continue,” explains David Heng, an analyst at the European Policy Center Economic, some time, it’s Covid, it’s Brexit.
Gary Knight operates a product distribution center in the south east of England. In order to hire more employees, he had to raise salaries and is not willing to foot the bill on his own.
– “As much as customers don’t want to hear that their prices are going to go up, we have to do it so we can move things from one point to another. If not, the stores will run out…”, Knight says.
Truck drivers have not entered the pool of skilled employees favored by Britain’s post-Brexit immigration regulations, leaving many local businesses without options. Some drivers now earn hundreds of extra pounds every day from their shifts. And companies like Gary Knight compete with giants and supermarkets and they can’t afford the same wages.
The British government encouraged companies to hire more workers from the UK. According to the RHA Transport Association, there are currently about 300,000 truck drivers in the country, including foreigners, and another 100,000 are needed to get things back to the way they were before Brexit.
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