Greggs is the latest company to be hit with supply chain issues of chicken for their iconic bake as labour shortages continue to hit supermarkets, pubs and the hospitality sector.
Due to post-Brexit immigration rules, the pandemic and a huge shortage of lorry drivers has severely affected the supply chain across the UK.
Speaking to PoliticsHome, Greggs confirmed that a “small number of products” are affected due to supply chain issues.
Company chiefs are urging the government to grant 10,000 temporary visas to EU driver, but companies are being told to concentrate training British workers instead.
A spokesperson for the Home Office said, “The British people repeatedly voted to end free movement and take back control of our immigration system and employers should invest in our domestic workforce instead of relying on labour from abroad.”
More than 6m EU citizens applied to stay in Britain after the Brexit vote and the UK will only accept European migrants who are skilled workers, family connections or for education.
McDonald’s, Nando’s, KFC, Greggs, spermarketshave all been affected – and today the Co-op’s chief executive, Steve Murrells said that food shortages are “at a worse level than at any time I have seen.”
Speaking to The Times, Murrells said, “The shortages are at a worse level than at any time I have seen” and blamed “Brexit and issues caused by Covid” which has helped fuel the crisis.
The Co-op has 4,000 stores across the UK and are now training staff to become lorry drivers in an attempt to help the issues surrounding the supply chain.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, warned that consumers will ultimately suffer due to the problems.
“So far, disruption has been minimal thanks to the incredible work by retailers and their suppliers,” she said.
“Retailers are increasing pay rates, offering bonuses and introducing new driver training schemes, as well as directly supporting their suppliers in the movement of goods, but government will need to play its part.
“We are calling on the government to rapidly increase the number of HGV driving tests taking place, provide temporary visas for EU drivers, and to make changes on how HGV driver training can be funded.”
The source said, “We raised this issue with government many weeks ago and nothing significant has happened since, so it is clearly not going away.
“We need new workers to come on board to cope with this demand, and while Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) have been helpful, the issue is with the Home Office.
“There are shortages fluctuating between 10% and 20% of staff, so we need some emergency changes get workers overseas who can fill this gap.”