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Nestlé’s Quality Street Christmas Crisis!

Nestlé’s Quality Street Christmas Crisis!

Things are getting real.

As reported last week in various media outlets including the BBC, Nestlé, the producer of the Nations’ favourite ‘Quality Street’ are facing supply chain issues and driver shortages.

Nestle are the latest food company affected in recent times including McDonalds, Nandos, KFC and Haribo!

Christmas stock is sold out in many shops as the panic buying trend continues.  According to the BBC, Nestlé boss Mark Schneider says they are ‘working hard’ to guarantee their chocolates would be in the shops this Christmas.

These are a sign of the times and whilst a candidate shortage is faced across many sectors, the driving industry is facing unprecedented shortages since the perfect storm of Brexit, IR35 and COVID.  Coupled with the impact the pandemic has had on manufacturing, farming and meat processing things are looking bleak.

Some of the harsh realities of the driver shortage:

  • 15,000 EU drivers have left since the pandemic
  • 66% of newly qualified HGV drivers don’t start driving or leave the industry soon after
  • Huge numbers of drivers are retiring
  • 60,000 HGV licence holders in the UK don’t drive as their primary career

Whilst the Government are looking to improve the driver shortage by recently relaxing VISA rules and enlisting the Army to help with fuel transportation, this isn’t a long-term fix.  VISA take up is low and through speaking with our own network of EU drivers, the VISAs do not hugely appeal due to the cost of living in the UK and the ability to find short term accommodation, many have also secured roles in mainland Europe since immigration was changed in the UK.

The driver shortage isn’t just affecting the HGV market, FedEx reported last week that they have had to close several depots across the UK due to a lack of delivery drivers and are currently executing contingency plans due to a labour shortage.  Whilst still delivering, many customers can expect a delay.

There isn’t a quick fix to the driver shortage.  Drivers’ we have surveyed, cite the poor working conditions being as important as being paid fairly.  Whether we agree or not drivers’ pay is increasing on an almost weekly basis, the driver pool is diminishing, and we all need to play our part to ensure the longer-term security of the industry.

Whether this be through training schemes, better pay and conditions or lobbying where possible to support Government initiatives such as attracting a new generation of HGV drivers.

Something has to change; Christmas won’t be the same without the Purple one..!

Andy Rowlatt
Executive Director

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