< Back to 68k.news UK front page

The real reasons why Lancashire's supermarkets are running out of stock

Original source (on modern site) | Article images: [1]

Invalid EmailSomething went wrong, please try again later.

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you've consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time.More info

The stark images of empty supermarket shelves have become commonplace over the past few months.

The impact of the shortage of lorry drivers has been felt across the UK, not only in groceries but also resulting in a lack of blood test vials and leading to certain beer brands being unavailable at Wetherspoons pubs.

Nandos has been forced to temporarily close 50 sites, McDonald's ran out of milkshakes and bottled drinks and Iceland had to limit its number of daily home deliveries.

LancsLive spoke to lorry drivers, industry experts and the supermarkets, to dig a little deeper into the reasons behind the problem.

READ MORE:Supermarkets face empty shelves as fresh food is dumped due to HGV driver shortage

Jamie Samson has been driving wagons and coaches for around 30 years and says the reasons behind the driver shortage are simple.

"Drivers aren't getting paid £100,000 a year like some newspapers have claimed," Jamie, who delivers aggregate and stone across Lancashire, told LancsLive.

"On average drivers are earning between £10 and £20 an hour; I earn £100 a day.

"It used to be a much better-paid job but the generation of lorry drivers are ageing and younger people aren't interested in coming into the industry.

"The average age of a driver is 50-plus and the youngsters don't want a job where you'll only earn £500 a week."

Jamie Samson outside his wagon

Jamie, who is 67 and lives in Stretford near Manchester, believes the pay and conditions for lorry drivers, as well as the nation's infrastructure, need to be drastically improved in order to address the shortage.

"By law we have to have a 45 minute break after four and a half hours of driving but often you'll find service stations make you pay after an hour," he said.

"There are often no decent facilities, no toilets or showers, so you end up peeing in a bottle. Even the trampers (lorry drivers who spend weeks away from their family covering long-distance routes) only earn about £800 a week so it's no wonder they're struggling to attract people to the industry."

Lancashire lorry driver Jamie Samson

Michelle Griffin, a manager at Skelmersdale-based Lancashire Logistics, explained that part of the issue is the enforced quarantine periods lorry drivers are subjected to when travelling from certain countries.

"A lot of drivers come from Eastern Europe and when we went into lockdown they were turned back home and to come back they're expected to quarantine for 10 days but if they're not going to get paid during that period they won't want to do the job," Michelle told LancsLive.

"A lot of the younger drivers aren't coming back into the industry because of the conditions they have to put up with. There's little secure parking and facilities, they constantly get abuse from other road-users and depot managers.

"These drivers kept our country going during lockdown but they're one of the lowest-paid people. Agencies are charging £25 an hour for drivers but they're taking a cut so most drivers won't earn more than £17 an hour for working eight-hour shifts. Something needs to change."

Michelle Griffin from Lancashire Logistics

The British Retail Consortium estimates that there is a 90,000 shortfall in HGV drivers in the UK.

Chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE said: ""Disruption has been limited so far, but in the run up to Christmas the situation could get worse, and customers may see reduced choice and increased prices for their favourite products and presents.

"The government must act swiftly and rapidly increase the number of HGV driving tests taking place, provide temporary visas for drivers from abroad, and make changes on how HGV driver training can be funded.

"Without government action, it will be the British consumers who will pay the price."

We approached some of the major supermarket chains and asked them to respond to the supply chain issues facing customers.

Tesco in Blackburn has been hit by a shortage of some vegetables with customers reporting issues with salad vegetables.

Tesco in Blackburn has apparently experienced a shortage of vegetables

Tesco say they have "plenty of food" but they are experiencing "sporadic disruption from the industry-wide shortage of HGV drivers".

This, on top of increased demand, is leading to "pockets of temporary low availability across a small number of products", but Tesco is constantly managing and reviewing the situation.

One of the steps Tesco has taken is to offer HGV drivers a £1,000 joining bonus as well as using the UK rail network more and regularly engaging with the government in a bid to find further solutions.

At Waitrose in Walton-le-Dale, Preston, customers have noticed a lack of carrier bags which store staff say is down to the HGV driver shortage.

A spokesperson for Waitrose said: "We've been working through the same challenges that all supermarkets are facing right now. As always, our focus is on maintaining the best possible range of products and high levels of service for our customers."

Shoppers at Sainsbury's in Darwen have reported a shortage of the supermarket's own brand of sparkling water.

Customers who shop at Sainsbury's in Darwen have reported a shortage of sparkling water (Image: Robert Wade)

A Sainsbury's spokesperson said: "We are working hard to ensure customers can find what they need. While we might not always have the exact product a customer is looking for in every store, large quantities of products are being delivered to stores daily and our colleagues are focused on getting them onto the shelves as quickly as they can."

Download the LancsLive app for free on iPhone here and Android here.

To keep updated, follow LancsLive on Facebook and @LiveLancs on Twitter.

Have you got news for us? Contact our newsdesk on lancslive@reachplc.com.

Get all the latest news, sport and what's on stories sent to your inbox daily with the

LancsLive newsletter here.

< Back to 68k.news UK front page