Sainsbury’s Offers Bonus in Bid to Recruit Drivers for Christmas


U.K. grocer J Sainsbury plc is offering extra pay to recruit more delivery drivers over the crucial festive period as the U.K. grapples with a nationwide shortage that has led to warnings of empty shelves at Christmas and panic-buying at gas stations.

The supermarket operator started its biggest Christmas recruitment drive ever Friday, saying it’s looking to hire 22,000 workers for seasonal roles helping keeping shelves stocked, as well as packing and delivering online orders.

Sainsbury said new and existing drivers could earn up to an additional 500 pounds ($672.58) for fulfilling shifts over the busy Christmas period.  

Of the total, 14,500 seasonal workers will be employed in stores, while the other recruitments include 3,000 online delivery drivers and 4,500 warehouse and logistics workers. The grocer is also getting the recruitment campaign underway earlier than usual, saying jobs would be available from now, four weeks ahead of last year.

John Lewis Partnership set out its holiday hiring plans earlier this month. That retailer is also looking for 550 permanent full-time driver and warehouse roles across its distribution centers and customer delivery centers. It is hoping to tempt workers with the offer of free food and drinks through to Dec. 31.

The incentives come after U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to issue visas to foreign truck drivers in a bid to prevent shortages in the runup to Christmas. 

The government will issue 5,000 short-term visas to lorry drivers and 5,500 to poultry workers, which are then set to expire on December 24. The Road Haulage Association has estimated that there are a shortage of around 100,000 heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers in the U.K.

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