Tuesday, October 26

Community truckers say they will not help the UK in the petrol crisis

London Correspondent



A maximum of £ 30 is what British drivers are allowed to refuel at UK petrol stations, which have run out of fuel due to not enough drivers of trucks to take it from refineries to service stations. The panic broke out last week and has not stopped, the queues are huge and the same question pops up on social media over and over again: “Does anyone know where you can refuel today?” In addition, it has given way to another: «Does any service station offer home delivery? That I have run out of fuel.

The situation has reached such a point that the government of the prime minister Boris Johnson
has the military ready to get behind the wheel of the tanker trucks and has also offered thousands of visas of a duration of three for European workers, many of whom left due to the pandemic and once, with the Brexit, the requirements to work in the country were tightened. The big question is whether the community members are willing to return, and the answer from one of the largest unions in the sector is no. This was stated in a BBC program Edwin Atema, Head of Research at the FNV Union, representing heavy vehicle drivers from the EU and Europe.

“Companies see drivers simply as an extension of the vehicle”

Ateta was clear: foreign drivers won’t help the UK any time soon. ‘The EU workers we have spoken to will not go to the UK to get a short-term visa to help them get out of the shit they created themselves,’ he replied, alluding not just to Brexit, but to the precarious working conditions that these workers have to endure. As he explained, “companies see drivers simply as an extension of the vehicle”, and many times they do not have access even to decent sanitation services on the long routes they must travel. Hence even “a raise in pay is not enough.” “In the UK, there is not even a collective agreement for the entire trucking industry,” he stated, adding that “it is still up to individual employers to compete on working conditions.” Thus, although Brexit seems to be the last straw, the causes of the driver deficit in the country, which are causing problems in the supply chain not only of fuel but also in the food sector, be more.

The conservative politician Iain Duncan Smith wrote in a column in the newspaper ‘The Telegraph’ that “this is a problem of European scope and the culprit is the coronavirus”, and detailed that “the total European deficit of drivers of heavy vehicles is now more than 400.000. For example, in Poland it’s 124,000 drivers, in the UK it’s 60,000 and in Germany it’s roughly the same as in the UK, but this is expected to increase to 185,000 drivers by 2027. ‘ For the parliamentarian, “what we now see are the aftermath of the decision-making on confinement, which begins to hit us. Clearly, there has been little planning or vision for the future, “he criticized, and considered:” I’m not sure how the visa changes will help now, when all of Europe is also looking for drivers.

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