HGV Driver shortage

Fox Tales

Well-Known Member
No doubt many of you will have seen the figures relating to the above . I have watched , read and listened to various reports on the reasons for the aforementioned shortage , so as a driver , here's my 10 pence worth .

The driver shortage isn't a new problem , a good few years back it was already evident . Fortunately for haulage , the EU's open boarder policies, meant drivers from across Europe could come and work here in the UK . Now ,let's be clear, they were not taking jobs from anybody, they simply filled the gaps within the haulage industry . During this time, hauliers have had a strangle hold on their work force . A strangle hold that has now weakened .

Of course, Brexit has taken much of the blame . To a degree that is true , but of recent, it has become less financially viable for EU nationals to remain here anyway, so why would they ?

Now with these drivers returning home , the industry is left with a massive driver shortage. A fault of Brexit , hardly . This is the result of an industry living in the past , an industry that refuses to respect its employees and does nothing to attract . This isn't just about wages ! It's about conditions at work , the poor work life balance , the lack of basic facilities on the road , being ripped off in the services ... etc . The haulage industry needs a good shake , 2/3 of drivers are in the last 1/3 of their working lives , there's a lot more leaving than entering . The government's answer is to relax the driving hours , once again giving hauliers the opportunity to get more from their drivers . Wake up , this won't work anymore, the tide is turning .

The job market has become more buoyant , drivers have more choices . To prove my point I have jumped ship 3 times in 3 months and I'll continue to do so if employers don't behave in a respectful manner .

Drivers sacrifice a lot ,in particular their home lives , perhaps if the industry gave instead of just taking it wouldn't be in this mess . They could start by increasing holiday allocation, if you work a normal 40 hours a week you'd expect 4 weeks and bank holidays . HGV drivers work 60 plus hours a week and spend very little time at home , surely, holidays should be proportionate . That , at the very least , would be a start .

So , to all you hauliers out there who have treat their staff badly for years , TOUGH , I hope you are suffering 🖕. Perhaps lessons will be learnt !


Thoughts?
 

finnbear270

Well-Known Member
I just surrendered my class 1, I saw Eastern european trucks on our roads with enough saddle tanking to come here & return load without ever sniffing at a UK fuel stop, for donkey's years.
 

baguio

Well-Known Member
Supply and demand. If wages go up there will surely be an increase in people entering the industry?
 

willie_gunn

Well-Known Member
I was presenting at conferences on the critical shortage of HGV drivers perhaps 10 or more years ago.

There are a whole raft of reasons for the shortage, of which Brexit is just one.

For example many HGV drivers, particularly in countries like Germany, were trained as part of their time in the armed forces - that huge pool of drivers has now largely gone.

Add to that the average age of a truck driver - in the UK it has been over 55 for many years - and the inability to recruit youngsters into what is frankly an anti-social, unglamorous and much-maligned industry.

Then there is the rapid shift towards eCommerce (and hence the demand for more LGV drivers) whilst Covid has led to a huge backlog in driver licensing, coupled with the problems of the pingdemic.

Then there was the issue of truckers from Eastern Europe undercutting UK based hauliers, not least when it came to the price of fuel.

It has been an industry in crisis for many years. We are now in a perfect storm, and one that won’t end anytime soon.
 

Fadcode

Well-Known Member
I surrendered my Licence in April last year, after 52 years on the road, my Licence allowed me to travel all over Europe and the Middle East as well as in the USA (I had to take a new test there to get my CDL Class A), and I can say I loved every minute of it, I was always well paid, I do agree that the lack of amenities in the UK is shocking, hardly a roadside Cafe left, the laybays are full of rubbish, as well as not being wide enough to accommodate todays trucks, but the trucks of today are a lot different than the earlier ones, and are a joy to drive.
Anyone thinking of getting into the transport industry, need to think about a few things, because of the hours you are allowed to drive, the chances are you will be away from home, and one of the bad things about that is, how hard it is to actually find a safe place to park at night, the cost of your food, especially if you are not willing to cook it yourself, the fact you will have to listen to the Archers every night, and unless you are happy with your own company the loneliness.

The other thing about HGV Drivers, is they will never get together to change things, they will put up with whatever is thrown at them, always have always will, so don't expect big changes, and many are happy with the status quo, HGV drivers are loners, they enjoy being on their own, but when they do come together in truck stops etc, what a time they have, I have many memories of Istanbul, the National Hotel in Belgrade, the Windmill in Hungary and many other places.
When I first started we were the Knights of the Road, if you seen someone in trouble, you stopped and helped them, nowadays you are lucky if you don't get run over when you break down, every one is in so much of a rush, due to the restrictions in driving time. Today is such a different world we live in, but HGV driving is still a superb job, I am even thinking of claiming my Licence back and getting back on the road.
 
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willie_gunn

Well-Known Member
I surrendered my Licence in April last year, after 52 years on the road, my Licence allowed me to travel all over Europe and the Middle East as well as in the USA (I had to take a new test there to get my CDL Class A), and I can say I loved every minute of it, I was always well paid, I do agree that the lack of amenities in the UK is shocking, hardly a roadside Cafe left, the laybays are full of rubbish, as well as not being wide enough to accommodate todays trucks, but the trucks of today are a lot different than the earlier ones, and are a joy to drive.
What!!

You mean those old Foden’s, Seddon Atkinson’s, ERF’s, Scammell’s and Leyland's weren’t a joy to drive??
 

Skietindiekop

Well-Known Member
I haven’t driven them for a living for over 20 years.
I ran my own and when I started the diesel was 29% of turnover. When it was 43% I threw in the towel as I made more money on the spanners and didn’t need to either drive or do maintenance on Saturdays (not forgetting the Sunday paperwork for tax and vat returns).
When the last of the pits were handing out £60k severance plus free HGV training the industry also ended up with quite a few new owner drivers in brand new kit living really well but not saving for the next one when it was worn out.
I have kept the license renewals going (free except the £50 medical) in the hope that it may one day be worthwhile returning to as a pre retirement job but I think it unlikely to end up as good money with reasonable hours.
There is a consultation currently to see if it is worthwhile scrapping the car trailer tests and rigid before artic tests to get more drivers quickly into artics and if successful the rates will soon fall back.
Good luck to anyone that fancies it as a career but don’t expect a happy home life as you will seldom be there.
 

Fadcode

Well-Known Member
Well at least you had to drive them, not like the autos of today, I remember when cruise control was a stick jammed against the seat.
 

Fox Tales

Well-Known Member
Wages paper over a lot of cracks though. Mortgages need to be paid somehow and if driving pays more than someone's current job then it's an option.
True, providing they can find the money to do the training. Current spend to pass class 1 is around 5k .
Most people buy a house to live in not visit briefly at a weekend . Money may pay the bills but you can't buy time . As I pointed out , haulage needs a good shake up .
The problem is the cracks are showing through. There's approximately 40,000 class 1 license holders who left haulage to work in other industries and are still eligible to drive . Speaks volumes.
 

baguio

Well-Known Member
True, providing they can find the money to do the training. Current spend to pass class 1 is around 5k .
Most people buy a house to live in not visit briefly at a weekend . Money may pay the bills but you can't buy time . As I pointed out , haulage needs a good shake up .
The problem is the cracks are showing through. There's approximately 40,000 class 1 license holders who left haulage to work in other industries and are still eligible to drive . Speaks volumes.
Surely the big companies are offering to put people through their test for a return of service by now?
 

Fox Tales

Well-Known Member
Surely the big companies are offering to put people through their test for a return of service by now?
They are , but they expect their pound of flesh . You can expect to be working a six day week and maxing the hours out .
There's no such thing as a free lunch , haulage needs too see radical change.
 

countrryboy

Well-Known Member
They're are other industries with far worse conditions harder work and a lot less money.than driving.
Some off the money being offered locally I'm sorely tempted to jack in being self employed and get a hgv licence.or a digger ticket.
Some are offer hourly rates on the books more than I charge with no expenses, it's almost a no brainer.

The biggest problem is education they constantly drum into kids to go to college/uni, it's just mental esp when such a shortage of tradesmen as well as drivers,.
On radio the other week reckons in the next 5 years uni admissions will top 1 million and just not the spaces
Fair enough if there degree leads to a proper job, nursing/healthcare, engineering, vet, accountant etc, but to do a BS course like history or politics urging To be wracking up a load of debt just to flip burgers at the end of it.

Nowadays 1k a week is quite possible, that's bloody good money, in my area that's bloody great money.
Not many uni jobs will be paying that.
 

Fox Tales

Well-Known Member
They're are other industries with far worse conditions harder work and a lot less money.than driving.
Some off the money being offered locally I'm sorely tempted to jack in being self employed and get a hgv licence.or a digger ticket.
Some are offer hourly rates on the books more than I charge with no expenses, it's almost a no brainer.

The biggest problem is education they constantly drum into kids to go to college/uni, it's just mental esp when such a shortage of tradesmen as well as drivers,.
On radio the other week reckons in the next 5 years uni admissions will top 1 million and just not the spaces
Fair enough if there degree leads to a proper job, nursing/healthcare, engineering, vet, accountant etc, but to do a BS course like history or politics urging To be wracking up a load of debt just to flip burgers at the end of it.

Nowadays 1k a week is quite possible, that's bloody good money, in my area that's bloody great money.
Not many uni jobs will be paying that.
Machine operator , keep your homelife . Be careful, if you get a good employer it can be rewarding, unfortunately they are few and far between , as I have proved over the past 3 months .
Those wages can be quite regional and a lot include unobtainable bonuses . I would talk to a lot of drivers before commiting .
 

Ronin

Distinguished Member
Way back (in my early twenties ) I worked for ten years driving class one for a mixture of uk hauliers

It was interesting and fun work - especially the swinging beef trailers and twin axle tankers ,,,,on the cairnryan free for all night trunk

Not to mention handballing 22 ton of spuds into your own trailers (x2) to do midnight runs to markets with one outfit

Hard work but well paid ,,,,especially if you did, “a little extra” for a couple of hauliers based across the water

Digital tachos , 56 mph limit and Timed deliveries to Wapping killed the job for me so I got out

Given the state of the roads now I wouldn’t go back

The cost of training, relatively low pay and crap facilities don’t help the attraction for new people to come in to the job now
 
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