John Lewis has become the latest big retailer to offer lorry drivers greater pay to resolve the major shortfall in road hauliers after Aldi, Tesco and Marks & Spencer all introduced wage incentives to attract more British drivers.
As predicted by Leave campaigners during the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum, lower immigration post-Brexit is leading to higher wages for the working man.
But it wasn’t just Leavers. Lord Rose, the former head of the ill-fated Stronger In campaign admitted the end of mass immigration under EU membership would lead to a rise in wages. “I remember saying that if you take out immigration that wages might go up. Well, it clearly wasn’t the message that I was supposed to be giving but economically it’s a fact,” said the former M&S boss of his honest slip. Afterwards, he was pushed out as the face of Stronger In.
Britain is faced with a staggering 100,00 deficit in logistics drivers due to EU nationals returning to their home countries. Covid has also had an effect as driver training and testing has been suspended during the pandemic.
John Lewis Partnership, which also owns Waitrose, is matching Tesco’s offer of a £1,000 bonus for road hauliers. New JLP recruits must sign up before the end of September to bank the extra cash. M&S is offering twice as much this week, while Aldi recently increased its hourly rates to £15.34 per hour for day shifts and £18.41 per hour at night. Morrisons is due to start re-training staff as drivers.
According to the Guido Fawkes blog, road hauliers were earning £350 a day at the beginning of the year and are now pocketing nearer to £800.
Meanwhile, the government has allowed lorry drivers to work longer hours during the pandemic. The measure is intended to be temporary, but given the massive demand for drivers, it could well remain in place permanently.
“We’re responding quickly to the national driver shortage by ensuring our drivers are paid competitively and by investing in training for the future,” said Mark Robinson, JLP’s director of supply chain.
“These changes will mean that we can continue to serve our customers well and get them the products they need.”