Lucky truckers earn more than the PM as shops struggle to stock their shelves

Lucky truckers are earning more than the PM as shops struggle to stock their shelves.

Freelance agency drivers are pocketing up to £800-a-day as the pandemic and Brexit combine to cause shortages.

Earlier in the year, their average daily pay was around £350.

Now many are earning more than DOUBLE that amid a shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers nationwide.

Boris Johnson earns a comparatively modest £442-per-day for running the country. Companies are also offering signing-on bonuses of up to £5,000 to stop rivals poaching workers.

One freelance trucker said: “The supermarkets and big firms are desperate to keep the wheels turning so are paying through the nose.”

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Another crowed: “It’s like signing for a Premier League football club. The cash has just exploded. There just aren’t enough of us to go round.

“Paying us a fortune will make us happy obviously. But it won’t solve the problem. It just means those with the deepest pockets will get their deliveries done.’’

Britain’s trucker shortage has been growing for years due to low pay, high training costs and the poor standard of many roadside stops.

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After Brexit 15,000 foreign drivers returned to their homelands fearing an uncertain future in the UK.

And test and trace pings have forced many drivers to self-isolate instead of hitting the road.

Milk giant Arla, which supplies all the leading supermarkets, warned last week the shortage had forced it to cancel 600 deliveries in a day.

Tesco has offered HGV drivers a £1,000 signing-on bonus if they can start before the end of next month.

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Wholesale business Booker has given drivers at its Hemel Hempstead depot in Hertfordshire £5-an-hour pay rises according to the union Unite. Asda is also offering a £1,000 signing-on bonus.

Though the wage frenzy is delighting drivers trade bodies warn it will be passed on consumers in the form of price rises in shops.

Paul Mummery (corr), of the Road Haulage Association, said he had heard of firms offering signing-on fees of up to £5,000.

“We have never known a situation like this before where we have had such a huge shortage of drivers,’’ he said.

“That is having an enormous effect on wages. Companies are trying to protect their positions by securing staff with higher pay.”

He added: “Our fear is small independent hauliers which cannot afford to pay big wages will go to the wall leaving the industry controlled by a small number of giants.

“Long term that kind of monopoly is likely to lead to worse conditions for drivers.’’

To solve the short-term crisis the association wants the Government to introduce a seasonal visa scheme to allow foreign drivers to return to the UK.

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