Tuesday, September 28

UK supply woes after Brexit: even McDonald’s runs out of smoothies

In the UK, McDonald’s has had to remove smoothies from the menu in England, Scotland and Wales due to problems in the milk supply chain. This is just one of the latest episodes of delays in the transport and delivery of goods since the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union became effective.

The fast food chain also ran out of some bottled beverages at its 1,250 UK stores last week.

It is understood that the cause is the lack of truckers due to post-Brexit migration rules, restrictions due to COVID-19 and the increase in infections that forces contacts to isolate themselves.

A McDonald’s spokesperson said the group “works hard to get the items back on the menu.” “Like most commercial establishments, we are going through some problems in the supply chain, which impact the availability of a small number of products,” he said.

Last week, Nando’s was forced to close about 50 restaurants because of the chicken shortage. They blamed the lack of staff among their suppliers and the reduction in the number of truck drivers. KFC also recently said that problems in the supply chain meant that it could not stock up on some items on the menu.

Labor crisis

McDonald’s is the latest multi-industry company fighting supply chain problems. The gaps in supermarket shelves will likely continue for several months. Producers say that will be the case if the British government does nothing to curb the labor crisis affecting transport companies. Some producers have also reported sharp increases in raw material prices.

The shortage of drivers of heavy goods vehicles, exacerbated by Brexit and the pandemic, has left wholesalers unable to get products to stores. An estimated 90,000 carriers are missing.

The British Poultry Council warned that one in six jobs, almost 7,000, were left unfilled after EU workers returned to their home countries. He also said the situation could affect the turkey supply this Christmas.

Logistics and transportation organizations have said August is a special bottleneck, as workers take summer vacations, and the offer of extra pay to recruit drivers is not paying off.

Lobbyists from affected sectors have approached Secretary of State for Enterprise, Kwasi Kwarteng, to detail the truck driver shortage and its impact on supply chains. They want plans not to grant temporary work visas to EU drivers to be reviewed.

Extension for EU security standards

Following economic concerns, the UK government has pushed back the deadline for applying post-Brexit product safety standards to allow companies to follow EU rules until 2023.

Companies will have one more year to start using the new brand UKCA, which will replace the EU CE mark, which is used to certify that a wide range of products meet safety standards, including electrical products and building materials.

Business leaders had said that forcing them to comply with the new rules, which will initially double EU product standards, would come at a significant cost at a difficult time for the economy.

CE markings are required for a wide range of consumer products, from laptops to table lamps to hair dryers.

The Government argues that the UKCA brand will allow the UK to control its product regulations while maintaining high safety standards. However, many companies say the changes will force them to fill out additional paperwork or make changes to their production lines, as manufacturers selling products in both the EU and the UK will be forced to follow two regimes.

The extension adds to a long series of delays in post-Brexit rules being undertaken by the government, such as the rollback of border controls for imports of animal origin from the EU.

Hire inmates to fill the lack of staff

Desperate food producers have pleaded with the government to hire prisoners to solve the labor crisis arising from Brexit and the pandemic.

The Independent Meat Producers Association, which represents butchers and processors, said it had a call scheduled with the Justice Ministry to explore how to hire more inmates. To fill vacancies, companies try to recruit prisoners through a program that allows them to go out one day a week and do paid work.

Tony Goodger, a member of the association, says that some of its members already have prisoners working for them, whom they consider to be of great help. However, “the numbers are low,” he says.

Goodger says that last week he contacted Hollesley Bay Prison in Suffolk, but was told by the head of rehabilitation that due to the high demand from inmates they had reached their “quota” and could not “let anyone else out to go to work”.