30% pay rise for warehouse workers as shortage intensifies

Warehouses are reportedly having to increase their wages by up to 30 per cent to attract new staff as a shortage of workers intensifies an already struggling supply chain.

According to a report from Reuters, a warehouse trade group and a recruitment agency for the industry warned that they were finding it difficult to replace the temporary European staff that usually work across UK distribution centres during the festive season.

The chief executive of the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) explained that the group’s members have had to hike pay by between 20 and 30 per cent to recruit people for entry-level roles, said the report.

“The problem is big,” Clare Bottle, chief exec of the trade association, told the news agency. “I would say we’re tens of thousands short.”

The Commercial director of a recruitment company which supplies roughly 35 warehouse businesses in the south of England, added that he was struggling to fill 100 vacancies.

"We've never seen a market like this," he said to Reuters, explaining that his former European workers had headed to France or Germany, where visas are not necessary to work.

Earlier this month it was reported that more than half of Brits – 56 per cent – have noticed food shortages in their local shop or supermarket. This followed a report by the National Farmers Union which estimated that there are currently over half a million vacant posts in farming, food production and distribution, retail, and hospitality.

Alongside warehouse shortages, supermarkets across the UK, including Ocado, Tesco, M&S, and Aldi, have been offering higher hourly rates and signing bonuses in a bid to attract HGV drivers.

A few weeks ago, the government announced it would cut down the HGV driver testing process in a bid to tackle the driver shortage, in a move it said would make 50,000 more HGV driving tests available.

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