Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Supermarket boss moans about consequences of underpaying staff.

From The Mirror:

Iceland managing director Richard Walker said: "Nationwide, the UK is currently short of at least 100,000 HGV drivers – the truckers we all rely on to keep us supplied with our food and other daily needs. This is due to a combination of factors, including our historic failure to value this essential work correctly..."


Sobers said...

Mate of mine is an HGV driver. I was asking him about the driver shortage the other day, and he said that one of the factors is that the average age of HGV drivers is well in their 50s, and during lockdowns drivers were basically treated like pariahs by the firms they were delivering from and to. They weren't allowed to use toilet facilities on site, they were not even allowed out of their cabs to stretch their legs, they were treated like lepers. Forced to p*ss in bottles and sh*t in laybys because the warehouses and stores they were operating between wouldn't provide any facilities. So many of the older drivers approaching retirement have said 'Sod this for game of soldiers' and retired. Hence why there is a sudden shortage, coupled with some Eastern European drivers going home.

L fairfax said...

Any business who treats staff like that deserves a shortage of staff - being polite costs nothing - in this case being rude did.
A shame the rest of us get caught up in it

Sobers said...

"Any business who treats staff like that deserves a shortage of staff"

Thats the thing, the lorry drivers usually aren't employed by either of the businesses that are either supplying or purchasing the goods being transported. If they are employed they will be employed by a haulage company, not (for example) the factory processing fruit and veg that they are collecting from, nor are them employed by Tesco who they are delivering to. Thus they fall between two stools, once they are on the road no-one is responsible for their welfare. Plus many are self employed anyway, so they are responsible for themselves, they have no employer to fall back on. They would rely on the decency of the firms they collect and deliver to, decency that was in short supply during covid lockdowns apparently.

L fairfax said...

Yes and no - if someone works for your supplier you do indirectly employ them.
Obviously you don't pay them but you can make their life so miserable that your supplier can't get more staff.

Shiney said...

My brother-in-law is an HGV driver - absolutely coining it at the moment as you'd expect.

His firm have lots of applicants but can' get them tested/certified at the moment because..... the DVLA went on strike and are using covid/WFH as an excuse to go slow.

Every economic problem in this country usually has, as its root cause, government action... or in this case inaction.

ontheotherhand said...

To start the training towards qualifying as an HGV driver, you've got to be someone who plans ahead. If you plan ahead, does it look like a life long career for a young person as driverless technology seeks to replace you? Perhaps that is why the average age is over 50.

Lola said...

Sobers. "...Thus they fall between two stools,..." Er, did you mean that literally?

Lola said...

Shiney. Every time you look for the a priori cause of an alleged 'market failure' you find a failed government or bureaucratic intervention. Every. Bloody. Time. I know this. I run a business under the thrall of the utterly failed FCA.