Supply alarm in Great Britain, as there are more and more empty shelves in grocery stores, and McDonald’s has had to abandon the sale of milkshakes and packaged drinks. “Rarity is the worst level I have ever seen,” said Steve Morells, chief executive of Co-operative, one of the UK’s largest retail groups. In an interview with The Times, the manager pointed the accusing finger at “Brexit and the issues caused by the coronavirus” causing a shortage of 100,000 truck drivers, which is essential for transporting goods. This is why the group is training some of its employees to drive trucks.
We risk “canceling Christmas again,” the director of the Iceland supermarket chain Richard Walker, who is urging the government to intervene in Brexit rules, to allow truck drivers to be hired abroad, told the Guardian. Its stores now scrap 30-40 deliveries a day, including fresh produce like bread. Soft drink deliveries are down 50%.
Thousands of European truck drivers have never returned to work in Britain after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the country’s exit from the European Union. According to Walker, the shortage of truck drivers is “not an inevitable consequence” of post-Brexit immigration rules, but a “wound of its own” by the government “which does not appreciate the importance of the work they are doing for us”. “The simplest solution – he says – is to include truck drivers on the list of qualified and essential workers.”
Not only truck drivers are missing, but also workers in meat processing plants and workers harvesting fruits and vegetables. Supply shortages also affect restaurants and fast food restaurants: McDonald’s can no longer serve milkshakes in most of its establishments, and many of them have also run out of packaged drinks. Last week, Nando’s closed 50 restaurants due to a shortage of chicken.
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