Recent disruption to fuel supplies in Britain has triggered a reaction from the Prime Ministers’ office stating that temporary visas for foreign truck drivers may be necessary to tackle the current UK driver shortage.
Panic Buying Fuel
Fuel stations have had an influx of people panic buying fuel after the media stated that fuel stations were running out of fuel. This announcement created a panic buying spree at the pumps with fuel stations across the UK running out of fuel before their next deliveries could be made.
Queues of cars were seen heading into the garage forecourts to fill their vehicles as hysteria set in, some fuel stations started fuel rationing to try and alleviate the influx of motorists at the pumps.
Temporary Visas for Foreign Truck Drivers
Boris Johnson’s office announced that it was looking into temporary measures to tackle the shortfall of heavy goods vehicle drivers across the UK.
It is believed that up to 5,000 foreign truck drivers would be allowed into the UK on short term visas to try and bridge the gap of the driver shortage.
Government ministers have cautioned the public not to panic buy as there are sufficient supplies of fuel and oil, which the oil companies have confirmed to be the case.
Retailers Concerns Running Up To Christmas
The retail industry is warning that unless the current UK HGV driver shortage is not addressed quickly it will have a devastating effect with the run up to Christmas.
The RHA (Road Haulage Association) says that the only long-term solution to the shortage of truck drivers is to have better pay and conditions for lorry drivers, otherwise, new truck drivers will not be attracted to the haulage industry.
British Trucking - Our Point of View
The trucking industry has been in decline for many years with poor wages, poor working conditions, and excessive working hours.
It is not right to put the blame on recent events such as Brexit and Covid-19.
Issuing temporary visas for foreign truck drivers is as bad as panic buying fuel at the pumps.
Will these foreign drivers have to take an HGV medical, and complete a 35 hour CPC course to enable them to drive on our roads? (probably not!) yet if a UK driver does not comply with these rules we get our HGV license revoked.
Truck driver’s wages have remained low for decades in the haulage industry, and the introduction of EU legislation, such as the CPC (Certificate of professional competence) regular medical checks, and also the IR35 tax changes, caused many experienced truck drivers to change their careers altogether.
With increased costs paid for by drivers on low wages, truckers could not see a way of making the job pay anymore, with all the increased expenses to retain their truck driving licenses.