The ongoing UK driver shortage may be at risk of worsening, with a significant number of drivers currently proposing a “stay at home” day on August 23rd 2021.
Responding to low pay and working terms, around 3,000 hauliers are said to be involved with the nationwide strike, with a further 340 joining the movement last week. It is expected to compound the effects of the current lorry driver shortage, especially during the ongoing “pingdemic”, which has seen many supply chain workers self-isolate.
Head of Media and Communications at the Road Haulage Association (RHA) Kate Gibbs has said that the strike is not the answer and that it will make an already bad situation worse.
The driver shortage
Earlier this year, Driver Require released a report investigating the growing HGV driver shortage in the UK. Bringing together a panel of haulage experts, the report concluded that the haulage sector was on the verge of experiencing a true HGV driver shortage for the first time in 20 years.
The reduction in driver supply, it said, has been caused by a number of factors:
- Reduced inflow of new HGV drivers due to restricted HGV training capacity during lockdowns
- Increased outflow of HGV drivers due to:
- EU HGV drivers leaving the UK because of COVID-19
- Brexit further alienating EU workers
- The impact of IR35 forms on net pay
- Drivers seeking other careers due to poor pay and conditions
In June, the RHA upgraded its estimate of the shortage of HGV drivers from 60,000 to 100,000 due to delays at testing stations preventing newly qualified drivers from getting on the road.
Responding to the issue, the UK government has extended lorry drivers’ working hours, and has revealed plans to ease driver qualification requirements and improve working conditions. Many drivers and industry experts, however, feel the measures fail to tackle the problem on any meaningful level.
A quick escalation in “salary wars” in the UK haulier market has meant heavy rate increases as suppliers do what they can to keep hold of drivers. There has also been a significant reduction in the ability to cover deliveries, with many suppliers unable to utilise a large portion of their fleet.
A multitude of challenges
The driver shortage, and news of this potential upcoming strike, is just one of many issues currently facing shippers in the UK market. From rising rates, equipment shortages and limited capacity, to Brexit and changing regulations, the current environment is one of extreme challenge.
Our global supply chain experts are working closely with customers to help minimise disruption and identify the right solutions. We are continuously monitoring developments within the market and will keep customers and our wider community informed. If you would like to discuss your current freight requirements and future planning, please get in touch today: firstname.lastname@example.org