Supply alarm in Great Britain, where there are more and more empty shelves in grocery stores and McDonald’s has had to give up selling milkshakes and bottled drinks. “The scarcity is at the worst level I have ever seen,” said Steve Murrells, chief executive of Co-operative, one of the UK’s largest retail groups. Interviewed by the Times, the manager pointed the finger at “Brexit and issues caused by covid” which cause the lack of 100,000 truckers, necessary for the transport of goods. This is why the group is training some of its staff to drive trucks.
We risk “canceling Christmas again”, director of the Iceland supermarket chain, Richard Walker, told the Guardian, who urges the government to intervene on Brexit rules to allow hiring truck drivers abroad. Its stores now cancel 30-40 deliveries a day, including fresh products such as bread. And soft drink deliveries dropped by 50%.
Thousands of European truck drivers have never returned to work in Britain after the start of the covid pandemic and the country’s exit from the EU. According to Walker, the shortage of truckers “is not an inevitable consequence” of post-Brexit immigration rules, but “a self-inflicted wound” by the government “that does not appreciate the importance of the work they do for us.” “The simplest solution – he declares – is for truck drivers to be included in the list of qualified and essential workers”.
Not only are the truck drivers missing, but also the workers in the meat processing plants and the laborers who harvest fruit and vegetables. The shortage of supplies also affects restaurants and fast food restaurants: McDonalds is no longer able to serve milkshakes in most of its establishments, many of which also run out of bottled drinks. Last week, Nando’s closed 50 restaurants due to a lack of chickens.