Lorry Driver Shortage: Emergency Talks

July 13, 2021 /

The current lorry driver shortage has impacted the whole of the UK. Shops have been going bare, shelves are empty, and goods are arriving late. Due to the ongoing shortage, the UK government have been having emergency talks with retailers across the country, as well as logistics groups, and wholesalers.

How the lorry driver shortage has impacted the population

Many civilians have been experiencing a food shortage, as food supplies are unable to reach the shelves of supermarkets and stores, due to the lorry driver shortage. The UK have been warned of facing a summer of food shortages, as a result of losing 100,000 lorry drivers due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and Brexit. Like the early days of the Covid-19 outbreak, it is expected that the population will begin panic buying and stockpiling. This can have a very negative impact on others, especially the vulnerable as they will then not be able to purchase the things that they need, such as basic necessities like bread and toilet paper.

Why is there a shortage?

Brexit has had a detrimental impact on the cause of the lorry driver shortage in the UK, as many European lorry drivers have left the UK for mainland Europe. The Covid-19 global pandemic has also had a huge impact on the transport industry and lorry drivers. There has been a massive backlog of tests for HGV drivers, as they were cancelled due to the pandemic. Around 30,000 HGV driving tests were cancelled last year due to the ongoing pandemic. Tom Cornwell, of The Road Haulage Association (RHA), has said that we’re “going to see businesses that can't survive because of the increase in the wages they're having to pay, if they are able to get drivers at all,” "And if they're not, that leads to vehicles parked up and deliveries not made on time.”

The working conditions

The hours that lorry drivers are needing to work in order to cover the shortage are another reason as to why the UK is currently experiencing a lorry driver shortage. There are also a shortage of HGV stops, which means that once the driving time is over, lorry drivers have nowhere to go. Many of the few remaining stops, are filled by 6pm or 7pm, which means that the remaining lorry drivers are being turned away with nowhere to go. Many truckers also believe that they are underpaid for the work that they are being required to carry out. On average, a lorry driver in the UK, will bring home anything between £23,000 and £35,000. When considering the long work hours, and poor conditions, lorry drivers are quitting. There have also been talks of a strike from HGV drivers. This can have a very negative, knock-on effect to the population, as this will then mean that deliveries will arrive later, if at all. The strike has been proposed as a ‘stay-at-home’ day, encouraging workers to skip work and stay home, in response to the poor working conditions and low pay. However, the Road Haulage Association has warned against this motion, as it will have a crippling effect on an already vulnerable supply chain system. So far, the movement has attracted over 3,000 HGV drivers. Lorry driver Mark Schubert has said “for far too many years, we have been ignored, exploited and taken for granted. Now our time has come, now we have a window of opportunity to be listened to”.

What’s being done to improve the situation?

Many companies have been offering bonuses to truck drivers, or increased salaries. John Lewis, for example, has offered an extra £5,000 to its truck drivers. Hopefully, this incentive will be enough to bring back the lorry drivers and help to create a more stable supply chain system. If you have any questions about how we are handling the shortage, please do not hesitate to contact us.