Why supermarket shelves are empty again (it has nothing to do with covid)


We have one major supermarket in our high street – it’s a Co-op. Though, yes, I know a new Budgens is opening almost opposite.

Its shelves get replenished on a Tuesday. But last week they were largely empty because the Co-op lorry never arrived. Sarah asked the store manager what was happening, ad she was told this was not – as the Conservative media would have us believe – something to do with crazy covid pingbacks. In fact, it is a little more serious than that.

The lorry remains at its distribution centre, un-driven and unloaded, and there it looks like staying. This, is a sort of Brexit problem. It is all about serious staff shortages – because the foreign workers have largely now gone. and those who might aspire to replace them will not touch a job on those kind of impoverishing conditions.

I have no idea if the Co-op insists on zero-hour contracts for its delivery drivers, but many of their competitors certainly do. Why should British workers take those kind of jobs. They don’t want to live in a caravan somewhere, or campsite or hostel – any more than I do.

What is happening, in fact, is that Brexit has fuelled what will look increasingly like food price inflation. But it is somehow justifiable price inflation – finally those how grow it and transport it will be paid adequately, perhaps even enough to allow them to afford to eat better themselves.

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Radix is the radical centre think tank. We welcome all contributions which promote system change, challenge established notions and re-imagine our societies. The views expressed here are those of the individual contributor and not necessarily shared by Radix.

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