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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

I had a very brief conversation with a rather harassed, but lovely lady pulling bins out onto the street for the bin wagon earlier this morning. Our bins should have been collected yesterday.

She said the problem is cross borough as there are not enough drivers. Apparently there are 11 wagons sat in the yard unable to be used because there is no one there to drive them. She intimated they had gone elsewhere as they were being paid more. Her parting comment was 'that is 100,000 households not having their bins collected today'! 

Apparently the lack of HGV drivers across the UK that is underpinning this local issue is being put down to the fact that a large number of HGV qualified drivers were EU nationals that have gone back to the EU...

I bet this was not on BoJo's Brexit Risk Register. 

Tags for Forum Posts: bins, brexit dividend

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Entirely understandable that without EU assistance there's nobody around to make a pizza or drive a waste truck.

Obviously it was a total surprise that the UK was leaving the EU. Who knew? Why did nobody say?
Wouldn't it have been sensible to agree some sort of transition period, say for eleven months? Firms large and small would then have had clarity and time to plan ahead. Doing stuff like hiring and training new staff. Why did no one propose such an idea?

A day or so ago, a TV weather person described the pattern of highs, lows and jetstream as like a huge Greek letter Omega hanging over the UK. Obviously that was not an omen, just coincidence.
When Hurricane Omega is foretold that will at least be a prompt to peek out the window.

Wasn't there something like four years, referendum to exit, during which firms could have prepared ?

In passing a friend of mine said something about the lack of lorry drivers possibly being down to a limitation in the UK's testing capacity to allow drivers to get appropriate licences, he mentioned there being a lack of testers... possibly because they were also from the EU and have gone home? Who knows! 

Of course John D, all of this was predictable the day after the referendum, to the extent that HGV companies could start recruiting and training drivers in the full knowledge that in mid-2021 there would be a driver shortage - and there would also have been the first pandemic in a century.


Overlooking the four years of various attempts failing to reach some sort of settlement, before the final (for now) one, on which firms could act - oh dear, we're in lockdown three months into the final deal. Oops.

Most, if not all, large firms will have a Transport Manager. The significant word is "manager ".

Fresh from the BBC an hour or so ago, a report on this very issue of driver shortages:


It's part of their Reality Check project, so all the data will have been verified.

The graphic below, from the Road Haulage Association, shows the challenges that "managers" are facing. This is an acute problem now, not a chronic one since 2016.

I don't doubt that there would have been planning and response within the industry since the referendum, e.g "Drivers retiring; UK leaving EU; Drivers going to another industry; pay rates"; but now Covid and the IR35 taxation changes have added to those risks, even before the very recent 'pingdemic' increased the overload to road transport, manifestly. It's a Black Swan event. [Wikipedia, safe link].

"The black swan theory or theory of black swan events is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight." 

This is not a "Black Swan" event, and there is some doubt as to whether the concept has any validity. However, the post provides very helpful insight.

Apparently the full list of reasons are :

1. Brexit - less EU workers.

2. Covid - pingdemic / self-isolation etc.

3. IR35 changes - meaning self-employed lorry drivers are leaving the job and drivers from other sectors are moving to fill the, marginally, better paid roles.

Arrange in the above in whichever order suits your political preference.

The only option seems to be putting up wages and that means (council) tax rises which, as you say Justin, definitely wasn't on the BBRR.

One factor I heard from the 'horse's mouth' is that for long distance lorry drivers there is a lack of resting and eating facilities on the roads these days. The typical A-road wooden shed cafes with huge gravel car-parks where drivers could eat and sleep have largely been bought up by McDonalds, they do not have lorry parking facilities. This leaves Motorway services, not always on-route or desirable, and expensive.

Fresh from the BBC an hour ago, a report on this very issue of driver shortages:


It's part of their Reality Check project, so all the data will have been verified.

If you pay people enough, they will do the job, hence working on backbreaking jobs on building sites can fetch you several times the minimum wage.

A lot is going wrong due to Brexit, but comon, a shortage of labour means increased wages, surely a good thing for actual working people.

Sooner or later the big supermarkets will ramp up the pressure/incentives for those in their supply chain to start shorter intensive HGV training courses and assessment. They won't tolerate shortages before Christmas.

As Classical Contrarian says, supply and demand should push up wages and make it a more attractive career especially in some of the depressed northern and coastal towns where wages of £28-45k can provide a decent standard of living. 

The other disincentive is the attrocious standard of motorway services and rest stops for drivers in the UK. Disgusting and expensive food options and shower/overnight rest provisions. They're well catered for in France and other parts of Europe.



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