Drivers and unions have warned that facilities and working conditions in the UK are inferior to those in Europe and that the UK’s supply chain crisis will not be eased until facilities and working conditions catch up with the rest of Europe. At this point in time, the UK has a shortage of more than 100,000 qualified drivers, and its level of vacancies is rising faster than those on the continent as well.
Although data from the EU’s labor force survey has shown that vacancies in the transport and shortage sector are increasing in almost every country in Europe, the problem has increased most dramatically in the UK, where the vacancy rate has almost doubled from 1.7% at the start of the year to 3.1% by August.
Multiple factors have contributed to the shortage. For instance, drivers stated they are forced to pay for overnight spaces or park in lay-bys where they are not covered by insurance due to a shortage of service stations, and facilities such as showers, toilets, and cafés are far inferior to countries such as France and Germany.
The European Transport Workers Federation General Secretary, Livia Spera, said: “In general parking areas are in a very bad state everywhere. We have been lobbying for change for at least ten years. There are not enough facilities, and those that are available are in a very bad state.”
The IRU estimated that there is a shortfall of around 100,000 parking spots across Europe. While the situation is concerning across Europe, British truck drivers widely consider European facilities to be incomparably better than those in the UK.