United Kingdom

No beer, no chicken: Corona and Brexit are causing the British more and more problems

The increasing shortage of staff in Great Britain leads to delivery problems. Now it hits a large chain of bars – and the fast food giant KFC.

In 2019 the beer flowed freely in the Wetherspoons Metropolitan Bar in London. Boris Johnson met here with the chain’s president, Tim Martin. Today the pubs complain about supply problems.

Henry Nicholls / Pool / EPA REUTERS POOL

The British pub chain Wetherspoons is running out of beer and the KFC chicken roaster has to close branches because there is a lack of supplies. There are gaps on the shelves in many of the UK’s supermarkets, especially for vegetables and fresh fruit. And the furniture store Ikea complains that up to ten percent of the range, after all around 1000 products, is currently not available.

It cannot be dismissed out of hand: Great Britain suffers from delivery backlogs and staff shortages. The double blow from Brexit and Corona has led to the emigration of hundreds of thousands of workers. Large parts of the British economy are affected by supply problems. Business representatives are calling for foreign workers to be relaxed, but the government is stonewalling.

More vacancies than ever before

First, it was Brexit that encouraged European workers in the UK to return home. The exodus was then intensified by the corona crisis and the associated lockdowns. It is estimated that London alone experienced an exodus of around 700,000 foreigners.

So it’s no wonder that the number of vacancies has rocketed to a record high. The competent authority reported that there were 1.66 million vacancies in the last week of August – more than ever before. The largest employers’ association in the country warned at the beginning of the week that the labor shortage threatened to be permanent.

It is not just the health sector, where almost 80,000 nurses are wanted, or the high-tech sector, which advertises almost 60,000 positions for programmers. Above all, there is a crunch in the freight forwarding sector. More than 100,000 truck drivers are wanted. The industry is desperately looking for truck drivers and offers generous welcome money and an annual income of up to 50,000 pounds.

Garbage is left lying around, vaccination appointments are postponed

The shortage of personnel in the freight forwarding industry leads to omnipresent delivery problems. In some communities, garbage is left behind because the garbage collection does not have enough drivers. The flu vaccine company Seqirus is suffering from delivery problems and has warned clinics to postpone their vaccination appointments.

The McDonalds fast food chain couldn’t offer milkshakes or bottled water. The restaurant giant Nando’s ran out of chickens. Haribo can no longer deliver to the island because they have no truck drivers. “Our figures show” “said Kate Nicholls of“ UKHospitality ”,“ that 94 percent of companies in the hospitality industry have delivery problems and around two thirds say that they have to reduce the menu they can offer their guests and that they lose significantly in sales. »

The respective industry associations have teamed up and written a fire letter to the government, in which they called for remedial action because the shortage of staff “is increasingly putting unsustainable pressure on retailers and their supply chains”. But especially when it comes to demanding work visas for EU drivers, the government does not want to be talked about. After all, it was at the core of the Brexit project that the influx of workers from the EU should be curtailed and not expanded

Economy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng therefore rejected the demand for visa easing and told the industry associations that the recruitment of British workers should be prioritized and that particular attention should be given to those who fear an “uncertain future” after the short-time work program expires at the end of the month.

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