Waitrose paying lorry drivers more than some executives amid national shortage

Waitrose is offering lorry drivers more than some head office executives as it tries to beat a national shortage of hauliers.

Retailers and suppliers are struggling to meet demand because thousands of European drivers have left the country.

A combination of Brexit changes and an exodus of HGV drivers returning home post-lockdown have left the industry short of manpower.

In a bid to tempt candidates away from competitors, Waitrose are prepared to pay drivers more than £53,000 a year.

According to The Times, that’s at least £7,000 a year above some head office jobs currently being advertised by parent company John Lewis Partnership.

Some industry figures want HGV drivers to be added to the Shortage Occupations list, which set outs jobs where overseas workers can acquire visas.

But the government has urged companies to take measures to recruit domestic workers as opposed to turning to foreign labour.

According to the Financial Times, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng wrote to business leaders on Friday saying foreign labour only offered ‘a short-term, temporary solution’.

The newspaper said Mr Kwarteng urged employers to help the ‘many UK-based workers (who) now face an uncertain future and need to find new employment opportunities’.

His letter came ahead of the UK’s furlough scheme ending on September 30.

Alex Veitch, general manager of public policy at Logistics UK, said he was ‘frustrated’ by the government’s position, adding allowing an influx of European workers ‘would help to overcome the current supply chain problems experienced across the country’.

Source: Metro