Tesco offers £1,000 bonus to new HGV drivers amid UK worker shortages

The payment applies to new starters who join from July 14 until September 30.

A delivery lorry outside a Tesco Express store in central London.
A delivery lorry outside a Tesco Express store in central London.

Tesco is offering a £1,000 joining bonus to lorry drivers who join the company before the end of September amid staffing pressures on the UK’s supermarkets.

The payment, which applies to new starters who join from July 14 until September 30, appears on various advertisements for HGV driver roles on the food retailer’s website.

Potential candidates are told that the role offers the opportunity to be “an ambassador on our roads” where “you’ll play a vital role for our customers and communities, representing Tesco on the highways and byways of the UK”.

Coronavirus – Thu Jul 22, 2021
Supermarkets have urged customers not to panic buy in response to reports of emptying shelves (Tom Wilkinson/PA)

The time-limited offer comes after supermarkets had to reassure customers last week that there was no need to panic buy following pictures of half-empty shelves and reports of temporary shortages.

A “perfect storm” of aggravating factors was blamed for the situation, including self-isolating workers and prior staff shortages.

Last week the British Retail Consortium (BRC) warned that staff shortages, caused by large numbers of workers self-isolating after being pinged by the NHS Covid-19 app, was “putting increasing pressure on retailers’ ability to maintain opening hours and keep shelves stocked”.

The impact of the so-called “pingdemic” was also being seen in factories, bakeries and meat processing plants.

The Government has since introduced emergency measures which it says will protect food supplies, allowing thousands of workers to avoid the need to self-isolate if identified as a contact of a coronavirus case.

Coronavirus – Fri Jul 23, 2021
Tesco is offering a £1,000 joining bonus to new lorry drivers (Yui Mok/PA)

Critical workplaces in the food supply chain are being prioritised for targeted daily testing, which will allow eligible workers identified as Covid contacts to continue working if they test negative.

Meanwhile, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) previously said it believes there is a shortfall of about 60,000 haulage drivers in the UK after around 30,000 HGV driving tests did not take place last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hauliers blamed the shortage on a large proportion of drivers being foreign nationals from European countries who had returned to the EU, combined with truck drivers not being included on the Government’s list of skilled labour, leaving new arrivals needing immigration paperwork.

Tesco previously assured shoppers it had plenty of food and all grocers urged customers to shop as normal.

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