The UK government should clarify the role of European workers in the UK immediately in a bid to minimise disruption to Britain’s transport and logistics trade body.
That’s the view of the Freight Transport Association (FTA), which wants to see results of recommendations from the government’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published as soon as possible, rather than until two days before the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU.
The group believes Britain’s supply chain could be devastated if the UK waited until it was on the verge of leaving the European Union before deciding the future of EU workers.
An estimated 311,000 workers from the EU are currently employed in UK logistics – 12.3 per cent of the sector’s total workforce – including 35,000 van and large goods vehicle drivers.
James Hookham, deputy chief executive of the FTA, said that trade needs to continue to flow freely across British borders, regardless of which political negotiations were under way.
He explained that businesses would need time to plan efficiently ahead of, and after, the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Mr Hookham added it was “an irresponsible move” to leave crucial members of the workforce under a cloud of uncertainty over their legal status and right to work in the UK.
“Lack of available skilled staff will pose a serious threat to links at every stage of the nation’s supply chain, and could jeopardise supplies of goods and services to homes, businesses and manufacturers at a time when they can least afford it,” he warned, also pointing to the “serious issues” in recruiting sufficiently skilled workers for the logistics sector.
Molly Benton, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, commented: “Losing these experienced overseas workers could deal a significant dent to the ongoing success of British businesses.”
Photo: Andrew Linscott via iStock
Posted on 8th January 2018
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