We published two articles back in November 2018 concerning the retention of staff. One story covered the issue of paying the ‘real living wage’, and the other looked at staff shortages arising from EU staff starting to head back home leaving huge gaps in the removals sector, especially for drivers.

Interestingly, this month the RHA issued a press statement on drivers’ wages. They reported that wages for HGV drivers are increasing faster than inflation. They too are reporting their members are struggling to find and keep experienced professional drivers in all sectors. Clearly this will provide additional challenges to the removal sector when competing on salary alone.

The report said: ‘While the national results indicate a general pay increase by member companies for staff of 2.75%, the survey indicates that the pay for C&E (artic) drivers increased hourly by 5.4%. Commenting, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “Brexit uncertainty has contributed to the shortage. It is still not clear if EU nationals can continue to work in the UK – the devaluation of Sterling has meant our wages are worth less to European staff.

“The sector has been working through the Trailblazers apprenticeship system to develop training for new commercial drivers and the RHA team provided a considerable amount of information to enable the Trailblazers sector group to write an additional three, level two apprenticeships.
“However as with many new apprenticeship standards, take-up has been slow and it has been a challenge to develop apprenticeships that fit business models of many companies – bureaucracy is a constant barrier to quick progress.

“The haulage sector has, to date, paid in over £150 million into the Apprenticeship Levy and to date, has only drawn back in the region of £10 million. Proof, if proof were needed that the system is not working.”

The RHA has engaged with other initiatives such as the charity Road to Logistics to try to tackle the HGV driver shortage, and has run a national competition to provide 20 new apprentice drivers to 20 small employers.

The RHA is challenging the driver shortage head-on and is working tirelessly to come up with solutions that will make the role of a commercial vehicle driver more desirable.’

Our thanks to the RHA for this story.