Next-day deliveries are in danger of becoming a thing of the past unless certainty over the status of EU workers is provided by the government, the GMB union has claimed.

The warning came as the union obtained figures from the Office for National Statistics that revealed a third of warehousing and storage workers are EU nationals.

The figures also show that EU nationals make up more than 20% of the workforce in 18 industries and that in the economy as a whole their share of the workforce rose to 7.6% in 2017, up from 7.2% the previous year.

The GMB said employers needed to improve wages and conditions after Brexit or 21st-century comforts such as swift courier services would disappear. It said the findings would spark fears for the future of some industries if there is not certainty over the status of current EU workers and a clear plan for meeting the UK’s labour shortfalls after Brexit.

The FTA agreed a lack of clarity over the status of EU workers will jeopardise the resilience of the supply chain on which next-day deliveries depend.

FTA head of skills campaigning Sally Gilson (pictured) said: “Employers need clarification on who they will be allowed to employ, and the work these staff will be eligible to undertake, now, rather than waiting until March 2019.


“More than 113,000 EU workers are employed in warehousing positions, and with a significant shortage of available British staff to take up these roles, it is clear that the logistics industry would be significantly affected.

“In addition, these roles are not spread evenly across the country, making recruitment very difficult without the support of European employees.”

The warning came in the wake of a second series of no-deal technical papers published last week that did not include the keenly awaited international haulage technical paper.

In response, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “Without clarity, any changes in supply chain operations cannot be delivered between now and next March. With so many unanswered questions, how can businesses prepare?”