Online delivery times could double to 10 days over Christmas as warehouses scramble to find workers

Retail warehouses across the UK have been forced to drive up wages by a whopping 30 per cent as they scramble to attract staff.

The ongoing worker shortage in the UK is hammering supply chains, threatening to cause major disruption in the run up to the busy festive shopping period.

According to the UK Warehousing Association’s chief executive Clare Bottle, the UK is facing a deficit of tens of thousands of entry level workers, forcing warehouse manager to bump up pay by between 20 and 30 per cent in increasingly desperate efforts to attract staff.

One senior executive at major British retailer, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said: “I can’t honestly think of a time in the last 20 years when labour intense UK industries have faced a problem like this.”

READ MORE: Retailers robot adoption being driven by “labour shortages and minimum wage increases”

They went on to warn that online shoppers could see average delivery times double from around five days to 10, while next-day delivery services could be cancelled altogether.

The executive added that if retailers who had “not invested in any automation at all”, are “wildly exposed to this”.

While warehouses and distribution centres are already facing hundreds of vacancies, largely driven by an exodus of European workers following Brexit, tens of thousands of temporary workers are now required to meet the upcoming spike in demand during Black Friday and the lead up to Christmas.

The crisis is also set to be exacerbated by the end of the UK’s furlough scheme at the end of the month, with a large portion of warehouse workers during the pandemic being made up of furloughed workers.

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