LONDON — In the United Kingdom, supermarket shelves are at risk of emptying this summer due to a shortage of truck drivers. Several British trade associations warn against this. According to them, there are more than 100,000 drivers too few. The problems are said to have been caused by a combination of Brexit and the corona pandemic.
In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, they call for them to regain access to European workers. This should be possible by introducing temporary worker visas for truck drivers and including their profession in a special list of professions that are in short supply.
The virus outbreak is disrupting supply lines worldwide. But without help from the British government, problems could arise in Britain’s supply chains of “an unprecedented and unimaginable level”. Grocery stores are already reporting that they are not getting the supplies they expect, said Road Haulage Association director Richard Burnett. His organization coordinated the drafting of the letter which has also been signed by the British Frozen Food Federation and the British Beer and Pub Association, among others.
A government spokesperson has said that contact has been made with the sector. According to him, the solution to the shortage should probably come mainly from companies themselves. He referred to progress in recruitment and improving pay and working conditions. Employers should focus more on investing in staff from the UK itself rather than relying on labor from abroad, the spokesman said.