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Drive for Britain! UK scrambles for truckers amid supply woe

40 Comments
By JILL LAWLESS

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British haulage says they need 100,000 drivers.

A driver for a big supermarket can make up to 50,000 pounds ($68,000) a year, more than many teachers, police officers or even lawyers. ¥7.5 million. 5,000 visas won't resolve the problem.

Japanese truck drivers are paid much less..

The average pay for a Heavy Truck Driver is JPY 4,687,107 a year and JPY 2,253 an hour in Japan. The average salary range for a Heavy Truck Driver is between JPY 3,447,121 and JPY 5,708,699.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

That £50,000 figure is a little misleading. Can make up to.....

In reality they make £30-35,000. So not so different to Japan.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Need to apply technology for self-driving truck for the long hauls and use drivers for all else.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

some gas stations

They're called petrol stations.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Keep your stupid Brexit, UK you're lost !!..

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

Weeks on the road away from home splitting ones time driving or "sleeping" in a little bed above the driver. Meals and showers in truck stops. Bills piling up at home waiting for you to return. Dispatchers "promise" to have you home by the end of the week, then oh dear they have a "hot load" going the other direction and in a company with thousands of drivers you are the only one who is available to haul that load. By the time you get home you've missed a car payment or your rent payment and the landlord has nasty notes taped to your door. Been there done that. Until the trucking industry makes the job desirable in terms of living standards only the desperate will take those jobs. It is not something one aspires too.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

DesertT....

This is the UK, most jobs would be under 200km. Not so much away from home, plus there are legal limits to the time they are allowed to drive....

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Thousands of British truck drivers drive to many countries between Britain and Turkey.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The reason the country ran out of gas is because everyone has been driving from store to store looking for chicken.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The UK is in trouble. The price of natural gas is so high that a fertilizer plant had to shut down so that plant could not supply CO2 to the beef processing plant which than had to shut down creating a beef shortage.

I was pretty sure that it was Australian society that might collapse first but the UK has taken over the lead.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

BoJo's version of Juche is working as well as the North Korean original. Spaces on the supermarket shelves, rising prices, shortages and the economy slowing down, despite the high vaccination rate.

We lack 100,000 truckers. There are rumblings that 20,000 visas will be offered for 3 months. That's not enough.

The NHS is falling apart too for lack of migrant labour and the entire food supply chain is getting ropey.

Deliberately refusing to utilise the global labour pool is economic suicide. There will eventually be an election, and then it will be political suicide too. BoJo promised a Brexit utopia. Instead the punters are going to get rationing. This week petrol stations started to close as they didn't have enough tanker drivers.

Simply throwing taxpayer's money at labour shortages doesn't fix them. These jobs require skills, temperament, physical strength, stamina and a willingness to work away from family.

The ability to pull in any labour you need, as you need it, from IT professionals and nurses to construction workers and couriers, is how you optimise your economy. Growth increases tax receipts, which supports public spending.

Isolate yourself from this labour pool, attempt 'self-reliance', and the economy will hit the buffers, tax receipts will decline and the amount available for welfare support and education will decline too.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

First-world countries spending billions of whatever currency on tanks and planes and bombs while turning their countries into third-world countries with no toilet paper on the shelves and homeless people everywhere.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

 refusing to utilise the global labour pool is economic suicide.

Using the "global labor pool" is economic suicide for the non-wealthly, non-elite (99%). The globalization of labor (third world wages for first world corporate profits) had given the West inequality approaching 19th century levels and stagnating/falling real wages.

A crunch like this is good news, because it can put upward pressure on wages. 60-70% of GDP is private demand and truckers will eventually have more money in their pockets to put into the economy.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Also since Brexit, there are a lack of fruit and vegetable pickers. Farmers can not find labourers to replace the previous foreign workers.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

There is no debate to be had that Brexit, more importantly this devastating pandemic played a role in the supply chain chaos unfolding.

Although both are undoubtedly being politically weaponized.

The reality is, exposed by both the pandemic and Brexit, is the ludicrous, toxic nature of the “just in time” business model, and the race to the bottom refusal of corporate Britain to pay there work force a living wage.

Mentioned about, as an example is fruit pickers.

10-hour shifts, pattern hours, sparrow fart starts. 6 day working week, bent double.

The conditions and pay are appallingly.

When factoring in rent, and other additional costs, a picker will earn and average of £8 per hour.

Between 85% to 90% of these pickers are bus in from eastern Europe.

When the Pandemic struck, and Brexit visa restrictions took effects out went the lights.

Game over, no more exploitation of cheap labour.

The hospitality sector where zero hours are a way of life is next in line.

Every sector has taken advantage of freedom of movement as a excuse to ruthlessly exploit poverty and vulnerability.

Look, train a local work force.

If you want nurses, HGV drivers, give them the skills and pay them properly.

You don't believe universal credit happen by accident.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Now is a perfect opportunity for that creature of darkness, head of Tesla to implement his 'humanless' future and replace the drivers with AI or robots. Then watch the carnage as it fails.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A shortage of workers in the UK???!!! Yet another thing the Brexiteers didn't bother to think about.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

The other side of Europeans like to do tit for tat.

British tourist make loud noises and throws rubbish here and there, European workers also does the same at British park after they finish the work or on Fri/Sat night.

British themselves don't consider European, they just think they're all royals at separate island.

But they should welcome more Asians than Europeans to make their economy better in every sector as now more Asians are becoming truck drivers just like nurses they have been Great help for the Kingdom.

-13 ( +0 / -13 )

A driver for a big supermarket can make up to 50,000 pounds ($68,000) a year, more than many teachers, police officers or even lawyers.

Wow! And your incompetent boss is not sitting at the end of the row of desks staring at you! That is the real bonus.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

As an ex lorry driver I can see it from the drivers perspective, long hours behind the wheel, unsiciable hours like 2 and 3 am starts are normal, low pay, sometimes sitting around in supermarket distrabution centres waiting for 4-5-6 hours to have your load taken off and checked, the other gripe that we had was that when your stuck in these places for hours on end they wont let you use the rest rooms or works canteens, by this time your sandwiches have been eaten or you might have been stopped in a lay by over night with nothing to eat all day/night, the driving agency have installed weigh bridges into the motorways ( free ways) so as you drive over them they can detect and weigh your individual axle weight, so if your over weight, a prosecution notice is in the post! restrictions on driving and working hours are rigidly enfourced, speed camaras on the motorways, transport managers are pretty appalling and there attitude toward staff is not good, although it has improved since I threw in the towel, i was offered a job to start the next day by 7 companies who were and are desperate for drivers, when I asked them what the pay was, £14 per hour, was about the average I just politely turned them down, and one of them was driving petrol tankers!! which is another seperate licence, my next enquiry was a instructer driving school, yet again they had just bought 2 new trucks and were desperate yet again they were offering £12 per hour, and you was self employed, the next line of enquiry was becomming a goverment examiner for truck testing, and they were paying out a whopping £12 per hour or around a £100 per day, I have to pay my labours £10 per hour to push a wheel barrow and undertake duties, most suppermarkets pay £10 an hour to fill shelfs! it does not take a rocket sientist to work out what the problem is, its cr*p pay, long hours, being treated like a something youve just trod in what a dog has left behind, now that the UK has left the EU all of the polish drivers went back home, now cant reenter the UK as they need a work visa! although the media will have you beleave that truck drivers get fantastic wages, like £50k a year, all that glitters is not gold, for that high sum they will be working split shifts, nights, inc saturdays and Sundays and holidays, so when you brake it down its not that good. right thats my rant over, ive go to go and find some fuel as all of the fuel station around here are all closed due to lack of drivers!!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Brexiteers won't have any of it though. Indigenous people just don't want these jobs or can't do them.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Brexiteers won't have any of it though. Indigenous people just don't want these jobs or can't do them.

But they sure do expect the food to be delivered by truck drivers which may or may not grow on trees.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I was pretty sure that it was Australian society that might collapse first but the UK has taken over the lead.

lol how that, Australia has the largest iron ore deposits in the worlds 2nd largest natural gas deposits, gold , copper , rare earths . they produce nearly all their own food and export $billions more each year. their economy is still seeing growth in 2021 and doing better than most during the pandemic. Australia hasnt even tapped into its massive amounts of solar, wind, geothermal energy yet. They dont have an over population problem. Actually under population when compared to many large countries around the world

Australia is one of the most self efficient nations in the world and as nations move away from fossil fuels to renewables theyll become even more self efficient in the future. They have so much solar energy that there is talk that they may even be exporting it to Asians nations to the north by deep sea cables.

Dont worry Australia wont be collapsing anytime soon

5 ( +6 / -1 )

A shortage of workers in the UK???!!!

I lived and worked in the UK in the early 80s when entire communities had no work. If you say "labour shortage in the UK," then I say: "Yeah! Bring it on!!"

 Indigenous people just don't want these jobs

Give them raises reflecting the massive profits raked in by Amazon and the other corporations whose goods they're hauling. Let them form unions so they can bargain for decent working conditions. Then they'll "want these jobs."

It's really, really interesting how the modern left is now so anti-working class and so sympathetic toward the moneyed elite.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

There is close to 900,000 still within the government furlough support

scheme.

A scheme soon to end..

This job retention scheme will end in days, in fact the 30th of September.

The huge tax liability for families is directly linked to this scheme.

The cost is eye watering.

The government has not published any risk assessment/outcome analysis.

The main contributor to UK's dilemma was lockdown, after lockdown, after lockdown, stop go, stop go.

In many ways Brexit was a hindrance, but when a lockdown is in place.

The outcome is assured.

No one in there right mind is going to jump into a lorry, even if there was produce, anything in fact to deliver and set out across Europe.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One of the supermarket chains is now offering over £56k plus £2k “retention bonus”, the average used to be £30k.

Most of the European drivers left with the pandemic not Brexit. Europe is also suffering from a driver shortage, it is not just a UK problem which is why the temporary visas for drivers may not actually bring in the numbers we need

The underlying problem is that it has been easier to import cheap labour rather than train up drivers or in the case of fruit pickers capital expenditure on automation (used on the continent) so now the chickens have come home to roost.

The solution is to train drivers and pay living wages.

And no it is not a problem caused solely by one party, all of them have been complicit, this is a situation developed over decades and governments of all 3 parties have done nothing to address it. Now necessity is forcing action and it is no bad thing in the long term that the pendulum is swinging back towards labour from capital, there needs to be a rebalancing if society is to function and remain stable.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I have a few friends in the business. One secret: the smaller the cab, the worst the conditions they have to work into. They are some drivers owning or using luxurious cabs, with nice living spaces behind the driver, but what the Polish, Romanians and Bulgarians are driving are really tiny things, claustrofobic and uncomfortable. It's nowhere the glamorous job they're advertising.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The shortage of drivers has nothing to do with Brexit. Firstly, the EU itself is 400,000 drivers short, and secondly, all those EU citizens who were living and working in the UK before Brexit (such as truckers) have retained the right to live in the UK for life.

No, the shortage is due to three things: (i) the cancellation of all driving tests during the Covid lockdowns, (ii) the tax changes referred to in the article, which make self-employed truck driving less attractive, and (iii) the restrictions on drivers' hours (which have now been slightly relaxed, though not enough). There is a huge backlog of applications to become a truck driver, and more are joining up each day, but it will take a while to process them all. Leaving the EU has allowed wages to go up, which is a good thing. We do not want to be an economy reliant on low-wage immigrants.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Wages are rising in the UK.

Truck drivers along with others

Not all driving jobs are sporadic and long.

It is possible to do shift work and have a certain number of loads and get paid for them-piecework.

Even service jobs pay more than Japan

McDonalds UK wage 10 pounds an hour and for nights 11 pounds-puts Japan to shame

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is the UK, most jobs would be under 200km. Not so much away from home, plus there are legal limits to the time they are allowed to drive....

No UK based HGV driver ever crosses the Channel to haul a load to France or somewhere else in Europe? I see an awful lot of trucks on those cross channel ferries. Who's driving them?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's really, really interesting how the modern left is now so anti-working class and so sympathetic toward the moneyed elite.

Care to explain that comment in the context of the driver's shortage? It is generally left of center politics that advocates for occupational safety, sane work hours, family leave, better pay, equal pay, medical benefits and the like. It is the right wing allied to chambers of commerce and other big industry lobby groups who oppose these efforts. Please stop distorting the truth. The right wing has never in its history advocated the things that make life better for the lower income wage earner.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

How's that Brexit going for you, Boris?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Indigenous people just don't want these jobs or can't do them.

Can't afford to do them, more like.

Indigenous workers, for decades now, have had to compete with a huge workforce made up of every young single European who fancied a few years working in the UK.

Try getting a job that pays enough to raise a family when wages are constantly lowered to rock bottom by millions of people coming over on what are basically working holidays, happy to share half a dozen to a room to keep costs down, undercutting wages and conditions.

The left in the UK has completely ignored the plight of the indigenous worker, and when British workers eventually say something about about being constantly undercut, and vote against it when they can (Brexit), the left calls them racist, ignorant, lazy, etc.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@kirisupisu...It is possible to do shift work and have a certain number of loads and get paid for them-piecework? no is the simple answer, the Irish guys were payed "trip money" they would haul freight out of sothern Ireland travel to the docks get on a ferry, then when they arrived inthe UK put a tacho disc in then they would drive to London or where ever, and return home all in the same day, sleep on the ferry etc and repeat, this encouraged lots of law bending daily on driver hours, since quite a bit of time was spent in the Republic of Ireland, ferry, Uk driving regs didnt apply, so these trucks were doing way more driving than they were supposed to do, so any financial benefit/insentives is not allowed as it could incouridge drivers to brake the law. things did change as the ROI came into line with the EU, you would always find trucks in the ditches heading towards the Stranraer ferry port, possibly they had fallen a sleep atthe wheel

This is the UK, most jobs would be under 200km. Not so much away from home, plus there are legal limits to the time they are allowed to drive.

I dont think that you fully understand the complexities of truck driving, to make trucks pay they have to be driven 24/7 a typicle day for me would be 2 am start go to the brewery load up, travel to centeral London once we had delivered there we would more than likely head towards tilbury docks, load up and possibly deliver the goods that day or deliver them the next day somewhere in the country, and the boss would find us another load somewhere and repeat, your estimate of 200 km is somewhat delusional try over 300+ some guys its way more. i use to clock 1200 miles a week and more (400km a day)

How's that Brexit going for you, Boris?

I dont blame BJ for the UK leaving the EU, blame the births public who voted for it in a vote to stay or leave. the poloticians did what the majority of the public wanted.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

And now that the UK has left the EU, the French police are beeing awkward towards UK drivers, and so are one or two other countries, weather this is some sort of payback or just enforcing EU rules onto a Non EU country is any ones guess.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

 the French police are beeing awkward towards UK drivers

What does that mean?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The left in the UK has completely ignored the plight of the indigenous worker, and when British workers eventually say something about about being constantly undercut, and vote against it when they can (Brexit), the left calls them racist, ignorant, lazy, etc.

Yep, go back to the old days of the 1970s when UK was a highly protected market. Prices were high and UK products like cars and motorcycles for example were mostly pretty bad.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Brian

I don’t know much about the Republic of Ireland and trucks coming and going from there but I do know what a friend of mine told me.

That friend’s acquaintance was a driver working nights and would carry something like tarmac to and from motorway construction sites.

He would do two or three loads in the night and be able to sleep in the cab whilst waiting to be loaded up.

He was getting 200 pounds + a night

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Desert Tortoise

Yep, go back to the old days of the 1970s when UK was a highly protected market.

And when housing, education, etc were affordable? And when plumbers, roofers and other skilled workers had living standards approaching middle class levels and whose households needed only one breadwinner to financially survive. Today's typical UK skilled workers are typically from 2nd world countries living in dank dormitories with shared toilets and showers and spend and invest most of their earnings in Romania, Poland, etc. while undercutting local wages.

But hey, as long as the rich get richer, right?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He would do two or three loads in the night and be able to sleep in the cab whilst waiting to be loaded up

In the US, asphalt tanker drivers have to load the product themselves and it is not pleasant work. You have to go up a ladder to a loading station above the truck and stand there with a guage stick measuring the height of product in each tank so you are not overweight. When you get close to your height for that compartment you have to run across a platform from the top of the tank trailer to the loading station to pull the valve shut and stop the flow. The stuff is hot and smells horrible. It can make you dizzy from the fumes too. Then after you've worked up a good sweat you have to sign paperwork and drive to the delivery point. Wash, rinse, repeat several times a night.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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