It strikes us that one of the more important issues currently affecting the removals industry is the shortage of qualified drivers and removals personnel. There is a definite shortage of skilled labour. Why is this? One of the sessions at the Movers & Storers Show in Manchester during November was about holding onto European staff pre and post the ‘B’ word (I won’t say it because everyone immediately moves on to the next article…).

This session has been covered in detail in a separate story, but we also want to consider another angle – the thorny issue of pay. Are you paying your staff enough?

Chris Smallwood – a Director of Anchor Removals in Manchester – has a lot to say on this particular subject. He is passionate about ensuring his staff are well paid and feel proud to be part of the team. Have a look at the page on their website entitled – Mission – Our commitment to our staff, and consider how many other removal companies can boast this kind of mission statement?
Part of their doctrine is to ensure their staff are paid the ‘Real Living Wage’.

The Living Wage is based on the cost of living set by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF), an organisation that any employer can sign up to join. The National Living Wage was set up in 1999 as the brainchild of the then Labour government. It is set by the Low Pay Commission and is the legal minimum any employer should pay.
The Real Living Wage rates are higher because they are independently-calculated based on what people need to get by. That’s why the Living Wage Foundation encourages all employers that can afford to do so to ensure their employees earn a wage that meets the costs of living, not just the government minimum.

The above figures exclude pension contributions and benefits in kind. In April next year the National Living Wage will increase to £8.21 which is a rise of just over 4%. That means from April next year we are literally talking pence per hour difference. So why should other removal firms pay the Real Living Wage?

Chris said ‘Paying staff more has a genuine “positive social impact”, in other words it can have a positive effect on our society. For example the more you pay, the less people are claiming benefits, the less stress there is on the family finances, and this results in better mental health, more money into the local economy, greater tax take for the government and an all-round win-win situation. Add to this ‘happy employees’ and you have great staff retention. Many see it as cost they can ill afford, but considering that increased staff retention lowers training costs, reduced recruitment admin, improves standards of service delivery and consistency, and leads to a reduction in claims, it’s a no-brainer.’

We can already hear many of you saying more cost…or questioning why they (road staff in particular) should get more money. Please go back and read the reasoning again. The question you should be asking is can you afford not to pay it? How many more key removalists can you afford to lose?