Suppliers across the country are experiencing shortages of HGV drivers (Picture:Getty)
Waitrose is offering lorry drivers more than some head office executives as it tries to beat a national shortage of hauliers.
Retailers and suppliers are struggling to meet demand because thousands of European drivers have left the country.
A combination of Brexit changes and an exodus of HGV drivers returning home post-lockdown have left the industry short of manpower.
In a bid to tempt candidates away from competitors, Waitrose are prepared to pay drivers more than £53,000 a year.
According to The Times, that’s at least £7,000 a year above some head office jobs currently being advertised by parent company John Lewis Partnership.
Some industry figures want HGV drivers to be added to the Shortage Occupations list, which set outs jobs where overseas workers can acquire visas.
But the government has urged companies to take measures to recruit domestic workers as opposed to turning to foreign labour.
Some supermarket customers have reported sporadically seeing empty shelves in recent weeks (Picture: Getty)
Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng has reportedly resisted calls to change the rules for European drivers to fill gaps (Picture: Sky)
According to the Financial Times, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng wrote to business leaders on Friday saying foreign labour only offered ‘a short-term, temporary solution’.
The newspaper said Mr Kwarteng urged employers to help the ‘many UK-based workers (who) now face an uncertain future and need to find new employment opportunities’.
His letter comes ahead of the UK’s furlough scheme ending on September 30.
Alex Veitch, general manager of public policy at Logistics UK, said he was ‘frustrated’ by the government’s position, adding allowing an influx of European workers ‘would help to overcome the current supply chain problems experienced across the country’.
The shortages have hit several retailers and restaurant chains.
Nando’s saw a shortage of chickens due to a combination of not enough drivers and fewer staff working in meat factories.
Other delays have also impacted McDonald’s, which said this week it had run out of milkshakes and bottled drinks as it prioritised deliveries of other products in the interim.
Organisations from the food and drink industry have recommended a 12-month Covid-19 recovery visa to help firms recruit staff such as HGV drivers, and an expanded seasonal worker scheme for the horticulture sector.
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