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Supermarket crisis as driver shortage could lead to empty shelves for MONTHS | United Kingdom | New UK News

Empty supermarket shelves are likely to continue for many months, unless the government does more to tackle worker shortages plaguing transportation companies, suppliers have warned. Several logistics organizations have said August is a critical point in the labor crisis as employees take summer vacation. On top of that, companies offering bonuses and registration fees to hire drivers make matters worse.

The situation has also been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

And now the wholesalers are unable to get the goods to the stores.

A major dairy farmer Arla said on Friday he could not supply milk to a quarter of the supermarkets he supplies.

Shane Brennan, managing director of the Cold Chain Federation, added that the problem was getting worse.

He said, “We are fighting the fires. We have a lot of vacancies but also a lot of workers on vacation.

He continued, “We have a short term summer problem. We’re going to have interruptions on the shelves – we’re resigned to them. “

Rona Hunnisett, of Logistics UK, said there was “a pinch point with the holidays”.

She added: “These guys have worked hard since the start of the pandemic.”

READ MORE: Government relaxes truck testing to deal with shortage

Mr. McKenzie added, “It’s a real problem because all they do is buy talent elsewhere. They don’t create talent.

“We may pay them more, which is a good thing, but we need new drivers.

“My challenge for companies is: why not spend the money to recruit and train new drivers? “

Dairy UK said the collection of milk from the farms had continued “despite the transporters under considerable pressure”, while many employees working in the dairies themselves were absent due to the “pingemia”.

Dr Judith Bryans, the organization’s chief executive, told the Guardian the government should offer skilled worker visas for heavy truck drivers and dairy processing to help recruit staff.

He added: “This is an evolving situation that the industry will continue to monitor closely. “

Sainsbury’s stores were also affected by the milk shortage, but the supermarket said only certain lines were affected and large quantities were still delivered daily.

A spokesperson said, “We are working hard to make sure customers can find what they need.

“While we don’t always have the exact product a customer is looking for in every store, large quantities of product are delivered to stores daily and our colleagues are focused on getting them to shelves as quickly as possible. “

Mr Brennan said the problem would get worse over Christmas.

He said: “It was obscured by the pingemia, but it was the superficial problem rather than the ongoing problem – that we are chronically lacking the drivers we need at every step of the supply chain.

“We have seen a massive exodus of non-British workers during the pandemic and we don’t know if they are able to return.”

James Bielby, chief executive of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, said an aluminum supply problem meant products such as soft drinks and beer were scarce, while related labor shortages to Brexit affected fresh products such as meat and milk.

Mr Bielby said: “It will get worse before it gets better.”

“The structural challenges remain and will remain so as long as there is no government intervention,” he said.

Andrew Opie, Director of Food and Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, added: “The government must quickly increase the number of heavy truck driving tests, fill in the gaps by providing visas for truck drivers in the UK. ‘EU, and also seek a longer term solution to this problem. “

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This notice was published: 2021-08-03 12:39:30

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