The British are short of manpower.
To remedy this, the United Kingdom on Saturday took an unexpected turn in immigration matters after Brexit: granting up to 10,500 temporary work visas.
These three-month permits, from October to December, should make up for a glaring shortage of truck drivers but also of staff in key sectors of the British economy, such as poultry farming.
In recent days and despite calls from the government not to panic, gas stations have been taken by storm due to stockouts which also affect the shelves of agri-food products.
Ensure supplies before the Christmas holidays
This decision to reopen the floodgates of professional immigration, however, goes against the line defended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose government continues to insist that the United Kingdom no longer depends on labor. foreign work.
For months, therefore, the executive tried to avoid getting there, despite warnings from many economic sectors and the estimated shortage of 100,000 truck drivers.
In addition to these work visas, other exceptional measures should ensure supplies before the Christmas holidays, said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
Examiners from the Ministry of Defense will be mobilized to pass thousands of heavy vehicle permits in the coming weeks.
The Department of Education and its partner agencies will release millions of pounds to train 4,000 truckers by setting up training camps to step up the pace.
"Putting out a campfire with a glass of water"
Under pressure, the government will beat the recall of all HGV license holders: a million letters must go to ask those who do not drive to return to work. However, the president of the British Chamber of Commerce, Ruby McGregor-Smith, considered that the number of visas was "insufficient" and "not enough to solve a problem of this magnitude". “This ad is like wanting to put out a campfire with a glass of water,” she said.
In the United Kingdom, the Covid-19 crisis and the consequences of Brexit have accentuated the shortages, which are combined with soaring energy prices.
Factories, restaurants, supermarkets have been affected by the lack of truck drivers for weeks, even months.
McDonald's ran out of milkshakes and drinks last month.
Competitor KFC has been forced to remove items from its menu, while the Nando's chain has temporarily closed dozens of restaurants for lack of chickens.
Marks and Spencer closes more than half of its stores in France
Nike will experience a shortage of certain products due to the closure of its factories