The construction industry faces yet another blow to cement supplies, while deliveries to 1,500 Budgens and Londis convenience stores are expected to be severely disrupted by the truck drivers’ strike for wages.

Growing supply problems for a multitude of retailers and industry sectors are expected to intensify amid a wave of industrial action by drivers.

More than 200 drivers delivering essential building materials voted in favor of industrial action this week after rejecting an offer of below-inflation pay and criticizing a “marked lack of dignity at work”.

Drivers deliver cement to major construction projects including Hinkley Point, HS2, Sellafield and Thames Tideway.

They also supply construction traders, including the Jews and the Marshalls. Hanson, the company that employs the drivers, has proposed a 2.5% pay rise, which equates to a pay cut in real terms as retail price index (RPI) inflation is on the rise 3.9%.

Builders are already facing a “perfect storm” of rising shipping costs as well as a shortage of workers and materials.

Besides the rising cost of supplies, bottlenecks in global shipping and the shortage of truck drivers are forcing many small construction companies, which make up around 90% of the sector (according to industry estimates) , to suspend their projects.

The cost of building materials rose 20% year-on-year in July, according to figures released Wednesday by the Department for Business (DFB).

Unite National Officer Adrian Jones said, “With the current shortage of drivers, our members are asking for a raise that recognizes their hard work and dedication.

“If strikes do occur, it will have major implications for the construction industry. Cement supplies will run out quickly, leading to project delays.

Meanwhile, the drivers of Booker, which is owned by Tesco and supplies Budgens and Londis, voted unanimously to withdraw.

Booker has granted a raise of £ 5 per hour to some drivers, but has declined calls to offer similar terms to others based at its Thamesmead site outside London.

Union Unite has said it is on the verge of issuing a strike notice but will give Booker time to negotiate a wage deal in crucial talks Sept. 21-23.

Some 1,500 Budgens and Londis stores in London and the south-east will face “serious disruption”, according to Unite.

Unite regional manager Paul Travers said: “Any industrial action will exacerbate the supply shortages currently facing many parts of the retail industry due to the broader problem of truck driver shortages, which are estimated between 70,000 and 100,000. “

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Source: www.independent.co.uk
This notice was published: 2021-09-06 16:37:08

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