We would need heavy vehicle drivers, we would need European truck drivers: we would need tens of thousands of them in the UK which is experiencing the petrol crisis. They are the same workers forced to emigrate after Brexit and who ran very disparate sectors of the British economy: from transport, to fuel, to fast food and supermarkets. The anti-EU post-referendum sovereign formula is running aground: these are in fact some of the effects of the abandonment of the common market and the rejection of the free movement of workers. And while on twitter the hashtag “fuel panic” runs the government of Boris Johnson has come up with a quick solution to get the situation up to Christmas: 5,000 short-term visas for truck drivers and another 5,500 visas for workers in the poultry sector (among the industries that are paying for this domino effect is that of meat processing which already suffered from the lack of carbon dioxide used that is used to stun animals for slaughter). Will it work? No, it’s like throwing a glass of water on a fire, he says Ruby McGregor-Smith, the president of the British Chambers of Commerce.
The McGregor-Smith statement is very harsh. Here are some fiery statements: “Lhe EU labor supply has been shut down without a clear roadmap on how this transition would be managed without disrupting services and supply chains … The low number of visas offered is insufficient. Even if these short-term opportunities attract the maximum amount of people allowed by the agreement, it will not be enough to address the scale of the problem that has now developed in our supply chains. This announcement is the equivalent of throwing a glass of water on a fire. The government should be ready to significantly expand the number of visas issued and convene a summit that brings business and government together to find both immediate and long-term solutions to the many challenges businesses across the UK face». Hannah Essex, co-executive director of the British Chambers of Commerce, said this employment problem has contaminated not only the food and transport industries, but the hospitality, construction, and care industries. And it still reports: «BCC data showed that 76% of hospitality firms and 82% of construction firms have faced hiring difficulties in recent months».
The representative associations denounce, in addition to the shortage of manpower, delays at the borders, the increase in debt and the increase in the cost of materials, shipping and energy that do nothing but add pressure on companies already in crisis. How is the crisis reflected? An Opinium poll published in the Observer newspaper on Sunday reveals widespread discontent: 67% of voters believe the government has mishandled the crisis. A 68% majority said Brexit was partly to blame.
It’s a form of degrowth (and it doesn’t seem happy). The feeling that is recorded is of nervousness, tension, fear because some sectors are undergoing a slowdown and the fear is that it is the prelude to a block. The five thousand short visas devised last minute, then, it is not said that they will arrive. And this is more than a suspicion as there are also plans to use hundreds of soldiers to deliver fuel to gas stations that are running dry. It is the British newspaper Guardian that launched the loose cannon by reporting the statements of the unions. “Why should these workers take action to help the British government a get out of the chaos that they themselves have created?», explained Edwin Atema, the head of research and enforcement of the Dutch trade union FNV, which represents drivers around the block.
A union of taxi drivers told Sky News that up to 30% of its members were unable to work today. A private taxi company, on the other hand, emailed customers to say that its services may be slowed in the next 48 hours, and that long distances will not be guaranteed.
The Guardian writes that BP said one-third of its gas stations ran out of the two main types of fuel, while the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), which represents nearly 5,500 independent outlets, expects a normalization phase after the run. to full. However, the association said that 50% to 90% of its members reported running out of fuel. Ergo: empty shelves.
A final example? The crisis also bites football. The Lewes Football Club (amateur league) said the match against Carshalton Athletic has been postponed due to fuel shortages and the difficulty of players, coaches and officials.
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