Unite calls for supermarkets to take responsibility for food shortages

Unite has called for supermarkets to take responsibility for HGV and food labour shortages.  

The union said that retailers across the UK must take responsibility for deficits in the supply chain sector, which includes, poor wages and insecure working contracts.  

The organisation also criticised the industry for seeking quick fixes such as “raiding other countries of their workers.” 

According to the group, stressful working conditions, poor wages and employment insecurity are to blame for the shortage of HGV drivers which has been sweeping the country in recent months.  

Representatives for both sectors said that they have asked the government to set up an industry body to improve working conditions across the UK.  

READ MORE: Booker’s cynical attempt to ‘hoodwink’ drivers increases likelihood of strikes, warns Unite

“The supermarkets fostered and became ever more dependent on a supply chain based on a high turnover of cheap labour,” Unite national officer for food, drink and agriculture Bev Clarkson said. 

“That model is exploitative and broken, and the supermarkets must take responsibility for making it fit for purpose.  

“Industry has to work with Unite to provide a better deal for staff. 

“Workers are the only ones who can fix the supply chain and at the moment they are not being incentivised to do so.” 

Unite national officer for road transport Adrian Jones added: “This race-to-the-bottom employment market, determined by the supermarkets’ supply chain demands, has put workers off. 

“The solution for industry is not to raid other countries of their workers, but to sit down with Unite and make HGV driving a more attractive proposition.  

“Road transport is crucial to the running of the country and the only way to resolve the long-standing issues in the industry is for genuine commitments to change.” 

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