Tesco offers £1000 bonus to new HGV drivers amid UK worker shortages

Tesco is offering a £1000 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 the Big 4 grocer 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”.

The time-limited offer comes after many UK 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.

READ MORE: Sainsbury’s Co-op & Iceland bosses urge customers not to panic buy

Iceland, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op were some of the UK supermarkets urging its customers not to panic buy in response to reports of emptying shelves, saying they are “continuing to receive regular deliveries”.

The grocers described any shortages across their stores as “patchy” but said there was no need for customers to change their shopping habits.

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”.

As a result of the so-called “pingdemic”, the UK 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.

Critical workplaces in the food supply industry 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.

with PA Wires.

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