British soldiers transport fuel to amid driver, petrol shortages
(Update 1: adds quotes by prime minister Boris Johnson)
London, Oct 4 (EFE).- Around 200 British Army troops began distributing fuel to petrol stations in the United Kingdom on Monday amid a shortage of lorry drivers that has strained supply chains in the country.
The UK’s current dearth of drivers of around 100,000 workers has contributed to the shortages in its grocery stores and fuel pumps.
The soldiers, who had been on alert since last week, will concentrate first on the worst affected areas of London and southern England, as part of an operation which was originally designed to deal with potential shortages following the country’s exit from the European Union in January 2020, a government spokesman said.
Last week, the government said it would offer 5,000 temporary work visas for European drivers to help cover the shortage, which is also being felt on the continent but is particularly acute in the UK due to additional regulatory complications related to Brexit.
The spokesman noted that “there are signs of improvement in the average stock level” at service stations and also “demand continues to stabilize.”
British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said Monday the way forward for the UK was to increase wages for jobs in the industry.
“What we want to see are high wage, high-skilled jobs and I think business is doing a fantastic job of investing in apprenticeships, investing in skills, and that’s the way to go for the UK,” he told broadcasters.
“On things like the road haulage industry, the thing to do is make the job more attractive, invest in the truck stops and invest in higher wages as well,” Johnson added.
On Sunday, the prime minister said he will not resort to “uncontrolled immigration” to fill the labor shortage, which is also affecting other sectors such as agriculture and hospitality.