Migration Watch UK has slammed the British government for turning to thousands of foreign drivers to solve shortages which they believe were caused by bosses’ addiction to cheap overseas labour in the first place.
“This problem has been years in the making. Neither party has seen the benefit of training and retaining UK workers rather than taking the cheaper option of foreign drivers,” lamented Alp Mehmet, chairman of the migration sceptic think tank, in comments sent to Breitbart London, of the shortages, which have caused widespread panic-buying of fuel despite industry assurances that there is enough supply to meet demand at British refineries and terminals.
“Now we are beginning to see the folly, but their response is just more of the same,” he added despairingly, in response to news that the Boris Johnson administration plans to try and remedy the crisis by issuing 10,000 temporary visas for foreign workers, covering poultry workers as well as drivers to meet bosses’ supposed labour needs ahead of the Christmas season.
Andrew Bridgen says the HGV driver problem is apparent across Europe but the actual issue is poor working conditions and low pay meaning people don't want to do the job.#GMB pic.twitter.com/ERcCqTkBTf
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) September 27, 2021
As many of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers operating in Britain were often from European Union nations prior to Brexit, some have attempted to attribute the shortages to the country leaving the bloc, including Olaf Shloz — the leader of the left-wing Social Democratic Party (SPD) which hopes to form the next German government after Sunday’s indecisive federal elections.
“The free movement of labour is part of the European Union. We worked very hard to convince the British not to leave the union. Now they decided different and I hope they will manage the problems coming from that,” he gloated in comments to the British press.
Britain is far from the only country experiencing a lack of drivers, however, with the United States also suffering a trucking crisis and Germany itself also short of drivers, along with other EU members.
Indeed, Germany is attempting to mitigate the crisis by funding training for asylum seekers to work as HGV drivers, a move that has attracted some controversy, given the negative association between asylum seekers and heavy trucks held in the minds of some Europeans.
The Netherlands, a neighbouring EU member-state, has even allowed migrants to qualify for HGV licences in Arabic since 2016.
Tobias Ellwood, a former Defence minister and Tory politician, wants the British government to follow suit and provide driver training for Afghans — despite a growing number of British citizens having been put out of work by coronavirus lockdowns.
Germany: Asylum Seekers Should Be Trained as Truck Drivers https://t.co/0VCc3Gw1Qj
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 23, 2018
Despite its plans to issue thousands of visas for foreign drivers, the British government has itself blamed panic-buying at the pumps on the Road Haulage Association (RHA) having leaked details of a government meeting they attended as part of “their agenda is to import foreign workers”.
“Of course they are denying it, but we know it was them,” government sources told The Telegraph, which is perceived as being close to the Johnson administration.
“There has been a shortage of drivers for months, largely because of Covid, which has meant new drivers can’t take tests and others are ill or self-isolating, so this is nothing new at all… Their failure to tackle this as an organisation has been monumental, but their solution every time is to hire people from eastern Europe,” the newspaper was told.
What the government intends to do about this besides complain about it in the press while continuing to issue more visas remains to be seen.
Brexit: Supermarket Boss Admits EU Migration Used to Keep Wages Down https://t.co/O2d93WEptx
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 11, 2019
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