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Midland Pallet Trucks warns uncertainty over Post-Brexit Employment Rights could have Major Supply Chain Impact

Midland Pallet Trucks warns uncertainty over Post-Brexit Employment Rights could have Major Supply Chain Impact

Midlands-based supplier of logistics and materials handling equipment, Midland Pallet Trucks has warned that the continued uncertainty around post-Brexit working right could have a very real impact on the UK supply chain.

The company, which provides equipment such as hand pallet trucks and lift tables to firms across the logistics sector, has genuine concerns that the looming threat is not receiving enough attention from both those inside government and those that stand to feel the fallout the most acutely.

The Freight Transport Association – which represents some 17,000 UK logistics businesses – is calling on the government to immediately assess the potential employment shortfall that could result from new, restricted working rights for EU citizens in the UK. The most recent figures from the FTA highlight the scale of contribution EU workers make to the UK supply chain and how devastating their loss could be for an array of sectors and industries.

113, 000 of the UK’s warehouse workers are seasonal EU workers, with 30,000 van drivers and 43,000 HGV drivers occupying similar, seasonal roles. Midland Pallet Trucks is keen to draw focus to this area, with logistics and warehousing companies unlikely to be able to fill these numbers with short-term, seasonal workers with full UK residence. The firm points to the farming sector where a lack of seasonal workers has already had a significant impact, with employers struggling to attract UK workers to roles previously occupied by seasonal staff from across the EU. Without these workers, the UK supply chain could find itself understaffed at the most crucial points of the year, leading to spasmodic performance or, in a worst-case scenario, collapse.

Phil Chesworth, Managing Director of Midland Pallet Trucks, said, “With a no-deal Brexit looming and the UK so reliant on seasonal EU workers for the smooth performance of the supply chain, this issue is a very real worry for many in the sector. At the same time, it seems like the government either isn’t fully aware of the potential impact of the loss of these workers, or they’re simply ignoring the problem. Either way, the issue will remain urgent until there’s some clear guidance from the government on how UK firms will be able to pick up the slack.

“Removing hundreds of thousands of workers from the supply chain will have a very real, detrimental impact on vast swathes of UK industry. If the workers aren’t there to do the logistics and supply chain work, the system cannot function properly. One half-answer might be a big boost in the number of apprenticeships offered in the sector, but this still wouldn’t cover the numbers we’re talking about. We need to see some real government leadership on the issue.”

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