Pumps are running dry at petrol stations across the UK after days of panic buying, prompted by fears that there could be a fuel shortage due to the lack of HGV lorry drivers.
The government is attempting to ease these problems ahead of the Christmas rush by introducing a temporary visa scheme for HGV drivers from Europe that will allow them to work in the UK for a three month period up to Christmas Eve.
The lack of lorries on the road appears to be having a knock-on effect on numerous industries including fuel, food and other essential supplies but one representative from the EU believes this short term fix won’t see workers flooding back to the UK to help amend the issues.
Edwin Atema, of the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions, appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme on Monday morning to give his thoughts on the crisis affecting the UK - and he didn’t hold back when pointing the finger at who to blame.
Atema began by defending the worker’s rights of the drivers: “Pay is an important area but it is not the only area. Long before the coronavirus and Brexit, this industry was sick already!
“Plagued by exploitation by irresponsible multinationals who dragged down prices which ended up with drivers voting with their feet and gently leaving the industry. Heaven was offered to these drivers but it ended up to be hell for these drivers.
“There is a whole range of issues behind even the news of toilet facilities in the UK and rest of Europe.”
He then took a swipe at the UK, appearing to reference Brexit as he said the offer would not be enough to tempt drivers. “The EU workers we speak to will not go to the UK for a short term visa to help UK out of the s**t they created themselves!” he said.
This is what a Dutch HGV driver, and representative of an EU drivers’ union thinks of the short term visa scheme: “… https://t.co/ImkJAP44qi
Elsewhere on BBC Radio 2, a Polish driver living in Glasgow said that EU workers don’t want to work in the UK. He said: “To think migrants are like tap water which you can open & close when you need it, is just insolence. You even got posters saying ‘a dog is for life, not for Xmas’, and this is how you treat your drivers.
“You just want them to come to rescue you and then bugger off when you don’t need them.”