Shoppers in the UK are staring at empty shelves for basics like water and milk in supermarkets and grocery stores owing to supply chain troubles caused by Brexit. While the issues began surfacing a few months ago, things have now come to a point where supermarkets are waiting for supplies for weeks. Without these basic products in stock, businesses are suffering as well.
Shortages of several regular things have been reported in the UK for months now. Once McDonald’s ran out of milkshakes while in another instance a pub ran out of beer. Shops are not receiving products as the Brexit rules make it difficult to hire European Union (EU) citizens. Consequently, haulage companies are facing a drastic shortage of lorry drivers. Further, many who returned home from the UK during the lockdown have not returned.
Cooperative supermarket group Co-op told AFP that it has had to recruit nearly 3,000 temporary workers to keep depots working at capacity and getting stocks stored as soon as possible. “We already decided to reduce our stock because of COVID…but now we’re finding it hard to get some products as well because they’re just not available,” said a Co-op spokesperson.
Even soft drink shelves are left unstocked for days. Toma, a young grocery store worker, said that the shortages began when the pandemic hit and things got worse after Brexit came into force on January 1.
Meanwhile, frozen-food group Iceland and retail giant Telco have warned shoppers of shortages during Christmas. Iceland chief Richard Walker said the company has cut down on deliveries because it has 100 fewer drivers than it requires. “Every day we are missing around 10% of the stock we have ordered into our depots,” Walker wrote in a blog. He added that things are at their worst as the company’s sole bread supplier wasn’t able to deliver to as many as 130 stores a day.