Christmas chaos warning as Iceland worker claims supplies running low

An Iceland worker has claimed his store is seeing "supplies and shelves running desperately low", warning of "mayhem" when the Christmas shopping season arrives.

The anonymous employee says his Edinburgh store is "running low on everything".

Last week, the managing director of Iceland, Richard Walker, warned of food shortages and asked customers not to panic buy, The Mirror reports.

"It's getting worse by the week. Christmas will be non-existent at this rate," the store worker said.

The reason behind the food shortages is a shortage of delivery drivers who bring the stock to Iceland stores.

Earlier in the month, Walker said Iceland had been forced to cancel 250 store deliveries a week amid the national shortage of lorry drivers.

This is a 15% drop in the normal level of deliveries and is happening because Iceland has vacancies for 100 drivers.

The worker continued: "About 4 months ago, we were made aware that our delivery schedule was changing due to a shortage of drivers. Instead of receiving stock six times a week, it was changing to five days a week.

"This had an immediate impact on our shelves as we were going two days without receiving anything.

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"Then when Tuesday came, the stock which did arrive only plugged gaps. This has repeated for four months and the situation is now critical."

The Iceland employee said the shortages were impacting staff.

He added: "I work on the shop floor and it's depressing. The store I work in has never looked as bad as it does today. Morale is low and we are struggling to keep up with demand.

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"We deal with angry customers on a daily basis and it's frustrating because we cannot give them positive news.

"Shortages are throughout the board, we are running low on everything," he said.

"I am dreading the run-up to Christmas as I have experienced many of them. And know that even when we do have full shelves, it's just a riot.

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"I fear that people's frustrations will spill over when they realise we just don't have enough. I can safely say that we will have many items unavailable for sale. This will cause mayhem."

To help ease the problem, some of Iceland’s six distribution centres have started using ‘class 2’ drivers rather than HGV drivers.

Class 2 licences allow drivers to handle smaller and more rigid lorries, whereas class 1 drivers operate larger HGVs.

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The UK is currently struggling with a shortfall of around 100,000 HGV drivers due to a mixture of Brexit and coronavirus.

This has forced the government to allow more than 10,000 foreign workers to temporarily work as lorry drivers and in the food sector as ministers look to solve the shortage issues before Christmas.

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