Almost every economic sector in the UK is facing some kind of scarcity, which raises fears of an impending Christmas crisis.
There is a persistent fuel shortage, mainly caused by a severe shortage of truck drivers, and there is a shortage of labor everywhere from warehouses to factories, buses to pubs, pharmacies and schools.
It doesn’t bode well for Christmas when Ruth Gregory, a consultant at Capital Economics, tells the Mirror, “Clouds are darkening.”
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Late last month, the managing director of the Icelandic supermarket warned that the pre-Christmas period of CO2 could become a problem as some food supplies were running low. Richard Walker told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “Right now we are fully equipped and our suppliers are fine, but we need to sort this out as soon as possible.”
Here is a snapshot of where things stand in some of the key areas of the UK economy that are not exactly making you happy.
To get more trucks on the road, the UK government has sent letters to almost anyone with a truck driver’s license to get them back to work. But their plan backfired a little when paramedics and even firefighters received a letter offering “fantastic opportunities,” “attractive wage rates,” and “flexible working hours” when they switched, reported Der Spiegel.
A firefighter told the Mirror, “I was pretty shocked that they sent them out to anyone with a license to be honest and not check out the profession they’re in.”
The Ministry of Transport said: “The letter was automatically sent to almost a million people with truck drivers’ licenses, and it was impossible to narrow down the copy list by occupation.”
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Rod McKenzie, director of the Road Haulage Association, said, “The driver shortage just doesn’t go away. We need … urgent action. “
Drivers could face fuel shortages for at least another week, with the military starting deliveries of fuel across the country starting Monday.
Almost 200 military tankers, 100 of which are drivers, are used to provide temporary support in the event of persistent supply problems.
People have been facing rising prices and long lines in the forecourt for days, and the fuel shortage is expected to last for another week, Police Minister Kit Malthouse warned. He told the BBC: “We are still seeing strong demand for fuel in parts of the country, even though there is no problem with supplying the country.
“The distribution mechanism is trying to respond to this unprecedented demand.
“My last briefing is that the situation is stabilizing, we see more forecourts with more fuel. If demand and supply are better balanced in the next few days – about a week – we will hopefully see a return to normal. “
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Over 200 military personnel will be mobilized over the weekend as part of Operation Escalin.
“As the situation stabilizes, our armed forces are there to fill critical spots and keep the country moving by helping the industry supply fuel to gas stations.”
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Union Usdaw also said three quarters of gas station staff were abused during the crisis. Secretary General Paddy Lillis said: “This is a crisis that has broken out on Downing Street but has affected motorists and service station staff. Our members tell us that the vast majority of customers have been great, but a significant minority take their frustrations out on the staff. “
The warehouses are already short of 10,000 workers, even before a surge in demand for Christmas.
Retailers and operators need an army of temporary workers, with online giant Amazon alone launching an offer to hire another 20,000 for its UK depots. Earlier this fall, Amazon offered new warehouse workers a £ 1,000 start-up bonus plus flexible hours and wages of up to £ 11.10 an hour for day shifts, which doubled to £ 22.20 an hour for overtime.
Sainsbury’s has 3,000 additional online suppliers and 4,500 in warehouses and logistics. However, businesses face a battle as many temporary jobs have been filled by EU citizens.
Clare Bottle, executive director of the UK Warehousing Association, warned: “The problem is big.”
One solution, she said, is to increase salary rates: “Several members have increased their salaries by 20% overnight, some by 30%, and many are operating on low profit margins.
“When labor costs rise, they have to pass them on to customers.”
Bars and restaurants
Failure to recruit enough staff in the hospitality industry in the coming months could prove fatal for companies, an industry body warned.
UKHospitality said the sector already has a 10% workforce – with just over 200,000 vacancies – which is forcing venues to close or limit summer hours. Restaurants in the Welsh seaside resort of Tenby have had to close during high season due to staff shortages and a problem that persists towards Christmas.
Chief Kate Nicholls added, “We’re really scared that the same thing will happen at Christmas.”
In the last three months of the year, the sector generates 40% of its annual profit.
Ms. Nicholls said, “We fear that some businesses will fail and that the recovery will be sluggish.”
The agency wants temporary visas for foreign truck and poultry workers to be extended to their sector.
Garbage collection is another everyday impact of labor shortages in some areas. As early as August, the parishes in Wales cut their collections due to a lack of drivers.
In Cardiff, garden waste was being collected on a monthly basis while a national shortage of green recycling bin bags resulted in Swansea local council running out.
Councils have poached trucking drivers with promises of higher pay – including reports of £ 30,000 more a year – with some targeted during their rounds.
Bus companies are struggling to get enough drivers behind the wheel to maintain public transport throughout South Wales.
First, Cymru had to change the bus routes and cut some services while other bus services had to take over some services.
Operators across the UK say Brexit, licensing delays and Covid absence have left 4,000 vacant positions.
Key Welsh workers are affected by the shortage and have to resort to taxis to get to and from work. A health care worker told WalesOnline that her monthly spending went from £ 80 a month to around £ 300 because the buses weren’t running.
Last month, a First Cymru spokesperson said: “The shortage of PCV drivers is present across the industry as well as in the UK and, like many other operators, we are currently experiencing driver shortages across the company. This is due to the fact that drivers are self-isolating, absent-mindedly above average, and higher than usual numbers of drivers are leaving the industry to take on other roles, many of which have vacancies in the trucking industry.
“In response to this driver shortage, we are running an ongoing recruiting campaign at our Bridgend, Port Talbot, Swansea and Ammanford depots and have introduced a membership bonus for drivers with a PCV license. We have almost quadrupled the capacity of our in-house teaching institutions to handle the new addition. We have a strong pipeline, but we still face some challenges with license applications from DVLA that are delaying the start date of our new drivers. “
Pig farmers face mass destruction of livestock due to the lack of slaughter workers. Up to 150,000 animals are on farms when they are supposed to go to slaughterhouses.
The shortage of slaughterhouse staff was exacerbated by mass exodus of Eastern European workers after lockdown restrictions were relaxed.
Rob Mutimer of the National Pig Association said, “We have to think about a mass killing within a couple of weeks.”
Slaughterhouses are also affected by a shortage of carbon dioxide, which is used to stun animals.
Who do you think is responsible for the scarcity across the country? Let us know what you think in the comments below.