Farage outraged by Britain's re-designation parade with Germany
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Germany is experiencing a shortage of drivers severe enough to spark fear supermarket shelves will soon be empty across the country. The nation’s media has branded the issue the “British mega problem” in reference to UK struggles with shortages and empty shelves.
German daily Focus Online asked “Empty shelves soon in Germany too?”, warning the lack of lorry drivers has been crippling the country since February 2020, before the Covid pandemic.
Comparing the national issue to Brexit Britain, they wrote: “The chaos of the British economy a few months ago made many Europeans smile.
“Truck queues for miles in Dover, empty shelves in supermarkets. Despite many negotiations and deals with the EU, Brexit did not go as smoothly as hoped – to the delight of those who found the British exit to be nonsensical.
“The next misery followed with the ‘Lorry Crisis’.According to professional associations, the country is short of more than 100,000 truck drivers, the BBC reported recently.
“The mainland Europeans should refrain from mockery this time – because British conditions threaten here too.
“It is not news that Germany is slowly running out of drivers.
“In February 2020, before the pandemic, the Federal Ministry of Transport (BMVI) warned of the decline in numbers of lorry drivers.
“In 2027, according to the forecast at the time, there would already be a shortage of 185,000 truck drivers in German logistics – and that without taking into account the greater volume of loads. According to the BMVI, this is likely to rise to 607 billion tonne-kilometres by 2030, 20 percent more than in 2017.”
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Despite being the EU’s biggest economy, working conditions and salaries for lorry drivers in Germany are at the root of the matter.
The gross earnings of professional drivers, which also include bus and courier drivers, are between 2,313 and 2,623 euros per month.
That is between 300 and 660 euros less than the economy-wide average. So it’s no wonder that only a few employees want to get behind the wheel.
At the same time, more than a third of truckers are already over 55 years of age and thus close to retirement – meaning the current decline is just the beginning.
Speaking to the German website, the Verdi union confirmed that the collective bargaining agreements in the sector in each federal state “have always been above the inflation rate in recent years”, but “come from a very low level”.
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In addition, inflation was mostly rather low until 2021.
They added: “Overall, the working conditions are not right.
“Much more absences from home than necessary, enormous time pressure due to the minute-by-minute timing of orders and overall very little appreciation.”
The Federal Association of Freight Forwarding and Logistics DSLV also sees this in a similar way with regard to the lorry driver shortage. “Unfortunately, the on-the-go conditions tend to deteriorate, which do not meet the demands of many young people when it comes to a work-life balance. In particular, those employed in European long-distance transport are on the move for days,” says DSLV managing director Frank Huster to FOCUS Online.
“Despite the most modern vehicle assistance system, the growing traffic demands constant concentration and makes it difficult to find a parking space in order to comply with the legally prescribed rest periods,” adds Huster. The sanitary and supply infrastructure at rest areas also left a lot to be desired.
Although wages have risen, the tough competition between German companies and competition from Eastern Europe with other social cost structures is holding back development.
But simply closing the German market for the Eastern European competition is not an option.
“Then really British conditions are threatening here,” warned Huster.
“[The shortage of drivers] is clearly a trend that has not only been observed for many years, but can already be projected into the future today. Two years ago we had a gap of 80,000 drivers. If you now add 15,000 every year, the problem becomes more and more serious,” says Verdi expert Stefan Thyroke.
According to this calculation, Germany would lack the number of truckers that the BMVI had forecast even a little bit sooner. When exactly this shortage occurs at this level is not that significant, says Thyroke – what is more important is that, if nothing changes, Germany will be short of 200,000 drivers by the end of 2027.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg
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