The John Lewis Partnership, parent of supermarket group Waitrose, has announced plans to increase the annual salary of large goods vehicle (LGV) drivers by up to £5,000 a year, to tackle an increased driver shortage in the UK.
From this coming Sunday (8 August), all drivers employed by John Lewis and Waitrose are to receive a pay rise of £2 per hour in their base pay, across all regional and national distribution sites, the group said.
Some 900 drivers are set to benefit from the higher pay rates, it said, while it has also implemented additional measures to recruit new drivers – a welcome payment of £1,000 will be offered to new LGV drivers with C+E licences joining the business before November 2021.
It also plans to establish a driver training programme, to enable recruits without LGV experience to train up. 'This will help address the acute shortage of drivers, which is affecting the entire industry,' it said.
'Responding Quickly' To Driver Shortage
Commenting on the move, Mark Robinson, director of supply chain for the John Lewis Partnership, said "There’s never been a better time to get behind the wheel for Waitrose and John Lewis. We’re responding quickly to the national driver shortage by ensuring our drivers are paid competitively and by investing in training for the future.
“These changes will mean that we can continue to serve our customers well and get them the products they need.”
The shortage of UK drivers has accelerated in recent months, with industry leaders warning that supply chains could collapse if measures to attract new drivers aren't implemented.
Some brands, such as Haribo and Danone, have already warned over a drop in service levels due to a shortage of drivers.