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Author Topic: Lorry driver crisis made worse by Covid - Shapps  (Read 1921 times)
grahame
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« on: September 24, 2021, 04:53:21 pm »

From The BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page)

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Lorry driver crisis made worse by Covid - Shapps

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says the shortage of HGV drivers is a “global problem“ and has been made worse by coronavirus

He says the "principal bottleneck" relates to getting more tests for HGV drivers - after none were available during the pandemic

There are also other "systemic problems" in the haulage industry that need to be resolved, the transport secretary says
Senior UK (United Kingdom) ministers are meeting this afternoon to discuss supply problems at petrol stations

It comes after a small number of BP» (Beyond Petroleum (Former name - British Petroleum) - home page) and Esso-owned Tesco Alliance petrol stations closed due to a lack of delivery drivers

The pandemic has forced 40,000 driver training tests to be cancelled, the Road Haulage Association says

Lorry driver shortages have also been blamed on EU» (European Union - about) workers leaving the UK following Brexit and other industry issues around conditions and pay

But No 10 says there is "no shortage of fuel in the UK and people should continue to buy fuel as normal"

Whilst Coronavirus has not helped (to put it mildly!), I can't help wondering if there would be less of a problem having enough bus and lorry drivers had we not seen so many return to mainland Europe.  I note that the BBC lists this as a possible cause, but it appears that Mr Shapps did not.  I wonder why the difference  Cheesy
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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2021, 05:26:51 pm »

From The BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page)

Quote
Lorry driver crisis made worse by Covid - Shapps

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says the shortage of HGV drivers is a “global problem“ and has been made worse by coronavirus

He says the "principal bottleneck" relates to getting more tests for HGV drivers - after none were available during the pandemic

There are also other "systemic problems" in the haulage industry that need to be resolved, the transport secretary says
Senior UK (United Kingdom) ministers are meeting this afternoon to discuss supply problems at petrol stations

It comes after a small number of BP» (Beyond Petroleum (Former name - British Petroleum) - home page) and Esso-owned Tesco Alliance petrol stations closed due to a lack of delivery drivers

The pandemic has forced 40,000 driver training tests to be cancelled, the Road Haulage Association says

Lorry driver shortages have also been blamed on EU» (European Union - about) workers leaving the UK following Brexit and other industry issues around conditions and pay

But No 10 says there is "no shortage of fuel in the UK and people should continue to buy fuel as normal"

Whilst Coronavirus has not helped (to put it mildly!), I can't help wondering if there would be less of a problem having enough bus and lorry drivers had we not seen so many return to mainland Europe.  I note that the BBC lists this as a possible cause, but it appears that Mr Shapps did not.  I wonder why the difference  Cheesy

I can't comment on HGV drivers over here in Brittany because it's not something I regularly deal with. I can however confirm that we have enough bus and train drivers to run our local/regional public transport system effectively with.
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2021, 06:41:39 pm »

Isn't it a tacit admission that there are other issues causing the driver shortage when one says, "made worse"?
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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2021, 07:05:24 pm »

Isn't it a tacit admission that there are other issues causing the driver shortage when one says, "made worse"?

Probably so!

As regards tankers, I knew a couple of drivers who only stuck with the job because of the pay. It is not easy driving around Britain's roads with a large bomb behind you. Although accidents are mercifully extremely rare, I can see that the offer of a pay rise to drive around with nothing more dangerous than chicken nuggets may prove tempting. I think we will see a fair bit of swapping around before enough new drivers come on stream to make it all better.
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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2021, 07:55:06 pm »

There's also a severe shortage in many countries on the continent, including Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Here for instance is a piece about the ongoing problems they are having in Germany:
https://www.transportlogistic.de/de/messe/industry-insights/lkw-fahrermangel/

The elephant in the room as I see it is the Blairite 50% of kids going to university, so that they can be indebted and unemployed as they slowly waste their 20s coming to the conclusion that the graduate jobs they were sold are a myth. We'd do better to reverse that quota – there are parts of the country where far too many kids are going to university, when they should be learning to do proper jobs that serve their communities: LEAs in the Thames Valley in particular should be penalised for producing inadequate numbers of people going on to practical and technical jobs.
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2021, 09:39:49 pm »


The elephant in the room as I see it is the Blairite 50% of kids going to university, so that they can be indebted and unemployed as they slowly waste their 20s coming to the conclusion that the graduate jobs they were sold are a myth. We'd do better to reverse that quota – there are parts of the country where far too many kids are going to university, when they should be learning to do proper jobs that serve their communities: LEAs in the Thames Valley in particular should be penalised for producing inadequate numbers of people going on to practical and technical jobs.

But here is the rub, that would mean reversing the failure of the 1980's that of closing all the Collages of Further Education, technical Collages and reverting some Universities to Polytechnics. and the YUPPIEisation of the 1980's .................

The problem does go back across decades and different colour political rosettes

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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2021, 09:40:16 pm »

There has been a shortage or HGV drivers for many years.  I remember being told in 1999 that a builders merchant would do anything to get more HGV drivers for local deliveries.  The current issues have only exacerbated the problem.
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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2021, 10:09:40 pm »


The elephant in the room as I see it is the Blairite 50% of kids going to university, so that they can be indebted and unemployed as they slowly waste their 20s coming to the conclusion that the graduate jobs they were sold are a myth. We'd do better to reverse that quota – there are parts of the country where far too many kids are going to university, when they should be learning to do proper jobs that serve their communities: LEAs in the Thames Valley in particular should be penalised for producing inadequate numbers of people going on to practical and technical jobs.

But here is the rub, that would mean reversing the failure of the 1980's that of closing all the Collages of Further Education, technical Collages and reverting some Universities to Polytechnics. and the YUPPIEisation of the 1980's .................

The problem does go back across decades and different colour political rosettes

There is absolutely no reason, other than the cost, why someone with a PhD can't also hold a HGV licence. Rowan Atkinson springs to mind, but I was surprised to learn that Dame Kelly Holmes can also drive a Class 1 vehicle. In her case, she learned in the army, and I would bet that a fair few HGV trained vets demob every year and go into something other than lorry driving.

(Not the animal doctor vets, although who knows?)
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« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2021, 10:49:30 pm »

jamestheredengine, electric train, I beg to differ.

Having been a governor of an FE college I agree that insufficient resources have been put into technical and vocational courses, but many of the jobs that are not being filled are either unskilled or (like HGV driving) the training is outside the college system.

Even amongst professions where long university courses are needed there are shortages  - farm animal vets, for example. The problem is that people are not prepared to take jobs where hours are long or unsocial, or where work conditions are uncomfortable.

Having had quite a bit of work done at home in recent months it is interesting to speak to the tradesmen we have used, some being ones we have used for over ten years. They are all getting older, and only one has someone from the next generation following them into "the trade" (his daughter). The others complain about the lack of apprentices, or have given up training because those they have taken on have not stayed the course.

HGV (and bus) driving is demanding work, with unsocial hours, often having to stay away from home using facilities that do not seem to have improved much in recent decades (unlike mainstream hotel accommodation).

Ironically, the Telegraph had a picture of a meeting of the Brexiteer Conservative MPs (Member of Parliament) who scuppered Theresa May's Brexit deal who call themselves the Brexit Spartans. I don't think they have much of an idea about spartan working conditions from the nonsense they spout about getting back to using UK (United Kingdom) labour for the jobs that were filled by EU» (European Union - about) migrants (although in the interest of balance I don't see any other party has any better ideas either). The irony is increased by the uncomfortable truth that the move that was meant to reduce bureaucracy and barriers to trade has heralded a whole new set of controls and interefered with the free movement of labour in our corner of the globe.   
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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2021, 08:33:41 am »

Interview on BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page) R4 this morning just after 7 with a tanker driver who described the poor working conditions - sleeping in the cab - poor services  - unsocial hours.  He said the next generation don't want a job where you are away from home all week.  Why would you do it if you had a choice?

I have read other descriptions that also mentioned dirty facilities and expensive poor quality food at services.  This was contrasted with much better facilities on the continent provided by local authorities. Also pressure to achieve timed delivery slots and complete work within permitted driving hours. 

If clients want their goods delivered then I suggest that current market conditions are right to force them to remove unreasonable restrictions like narrowly timed delivery slots. Government should also fund the creation of better rest facilities for HGV drivers at reasonable cost.   Perhaps the facilities at the Houses of Parliament should be downgraded to those of the average truckstop!

It should be perfectly possible to reconfigure our supply chains to reduce the need for the unsocial hours and to take some of the pressure off drivers.  Yes this will cost money, but we have an unsustainable obsession with cheap goods paid for by the poor working conditions of others.  It is part of our unequal society. 
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« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2021, 08:55:35 am »

Interview on BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page) R4 this morning just after 7 with a tanker driver who described the poor working conditions - sleeping in the cab - poor services  - unsocial hours.  He said the next generation don't want a job where you are away from home all week.  Why would you do it if you had a choice?

I have read other descriptions that also mentioned dirty facilities and expensive poor quality food at services.  This was contrasted with much better facilities on the continent provided by local authorities. Also pressure to achieve timed delivery slots and complete work within permitted driving hours. 

If clients want their goods delivered then I suggest that current market conditions are right to force them to remove unreasonable restrictions like narrowly timed delivery slots. Government should also fund the creation of better rest facilities for HGV drivers at reasonable cost.   Perhaps the facilities at the Houses of Parliament should be downgraded to those of the average truckstop!

It should be perfectly possible to reconfigure our supply chains to reduce the need for the unsocial hours and to take some of the pressure off drivers.  Yes this will cost money, but we have an unsustainable obsession with cheap goods paid for by the poor working conditions of others.  It is part of our unequal society. 

Motorway service stations have improved hugely in recent years in terms of quality but have always been a rip-off in terms of price.

The driver shortage issue seems to be most acute in the UK (United Kingdom) however it's also a problem across Europe and has been growing for some time - especially in France and Germany.

Obviously the consequence of reconfiguring supply chains to reduce the need for unsocial hours means more HGVs on the road during the day - not sure how palatable that would be.

Having spoken to friends in Plymouth recently you'll find many bus drivers and taxi drivers are now driving delivery vans for the supermarkets and companies servicing Amazon etc - this market has exploded during lockdown and looks likely to continue, entirely possible that HGV drivers are doing same?
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« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2021, 11:09:03 am »


I have read other descriptions that also mentioned dirty facilities and expensive poor quality food at services.  This was contrasted with much better facilities on the continent provided by local authorities.

Compare and contrast a Greggs at a motorway services with a stop at a Relais Routiers truck stop in France.
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« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2021, 12:47:02 pm »


I have read other descriptions that also mentioned dirty facilities and expensive poor quality food at services.  This was contrasted with much better facilities on the continent provided by local authorities.

Compare and contrast a Greggs at a motorway services with a stop at a Relais Routiers truck stop in France.

Exactly. I mean how could French rustic cuisine hope to compete with a steak bake & sausage roll?
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« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2021, 02:14:56 pm »

I wonder how keen EU» (European Union - about) truckers will be to work in the UK (United Kingdom) up to Christmas this year? Bearing in mind that last Christmas thousands of them were stuck for days on the M2 and at Manston Airfield until Boxing Day.

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« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2021, 02:18:25 pm »

Of course if even 10% of road freight was transferred to rail, that would somewhat ease truck driver shortages.

And as for working conditions, it cant be that hard to provide properly equipped truck stops. Nothing elaborate is needed, secure parking, preferably with mains electricity hook ups. Basic but clean and reliable toilets and showers. And a few motel type rooms for those without sleeper cabs. Refuse bins and recycling bins. Outdoor seating. A small shop.
It would IMHO (in my humble opinion) be reasonable for the state to provide the land for free, but with the facilities built and run by private operators who could charge for use.
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It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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