Gas stations across the country are the latest to be hit by the shortage of truck drivers, leading to widespread disruption as supermarkets continue to see empty shelves as well.
Heavy truck driver Jason Garland said The independent that Christmas will reveal the worst of the crisis as the demand for food and goods increases.
“I don’t think the problem has arisen yet,” Garland said.
He added, “Christmas is going to be the biggest problem because people will be buying their food wholesale for family dinners and then you also have Amazon and the big online retailers who will be moving a lot more than they are moving. now. ”
Mr Garland, who has worked in the heavy-duty industry for five years, said customers can expect delivery delays, with options like next day deliveries probably not as readily available.
“It didn’t happen overnight”
Truck driver Jon Clarke said the driver shortage has been going on for years. The 14-year-old driver said poor conditions and lack of investment forced drivers to leave the area without recruiting younger staff into the area.
“It didn’t happen overnight, anyone who does the job will tell you that we all saw it coming a long time ago,” Mr. Clarke said. The independent.
He added: “It has been coming for years. “
Mr Clarke, who drives trucks across mainland Europe, said the salary and pay of truck drivers made the job unattractive. He argued that although the public was in an uproar over the increase in the wages of heavy truck drivers, until the recent spikes, his wages have remained the same for the past 10 years.
He also lamented the poor facilities in the UK available to drivers.
“Parking at one of the UK petrol stations costs over £ 30 a night if you can get in. The facilities are dire you can’t eat anything good except take out and you have showers I would ‘don’t wash my dog - as long as the infrastructure isn’t there you won’t attract people to a career, ”he said.
A European Union official said on Monday that drivers were unlikely to be tempted to return to the UK, citing low wages and a lack of good facilities.
Mr Clarke said better facilities and increasingly comparable salaries in Europe would prevent drivers from accepting the UK’s three-month visa invitation.
Brexit, the coronavirus and people leaving the industry created a ‘perfect storm’, Mr Clarke added, but he insisted the government had been warned about driver burnout for a decade and no hadn’t done enough.
“All countries lack drivers. Make it an attractive career, get grants to people who are genuinely interested. There are people who are interested but cannot afford it. Make grants available to them, ”said Clarke.
“The worst will be at Christmas”
Krzysztof Turkowski, who has worked in the heavy-duty sector for half a decade, also pointed out that the worst shortages are yet to come.
“It will only get worse before it gets better, but people panicking buying doesn’t help in any way,” Turkowski said. The independent.
“I think the worst will be seen at Christmas,” he added.
On the reasons for the disruptive shortages, Mr Turkowski also agreed that a lack of investment in recruiting and mistreating drivers led to the deficit. He added that the confusion over Brexit caused many of his Polish friends to return home.
He said that the drivers were not properly recognized for working “60 to 70 hours a week” and that the workers were heroes only when needed, but “as soon as the shortage is over you are a nuisance ”.
Panic buying days have left many people without fuel as forecourts across the country are forced to close after running out of fuel.
The British Medical Association has called on the government to provide additional support for key workers to access fuel as disruptions risk hampering the delivery of care in the NHS.
A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation said: “We are taking a series of measures to support the industry, including streamlining the process for new heavy truck drivers and increasing the number of test drives. Progress has already been made in testing and hiring, with improved wages, working conditions and diversity.