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Tesco offers new lorry drivers £1,000 signing-on fee

Written by: Emma Lunn
Tesco is offering HGV drivers £1,000 to join the supermarket after a combination of Brexit, Covid and tax changes led to competition for workers between UK supermarkets.

Lorry drivers joining Tesco before 30 September 2021 will receive the bonus of £1,000 which is subject to tax and National Insurance deductions. The supermarket warned that the bonus is at Tesco’s discretion and subject to review, variation and removal.

To become a Tesco Driver, you’ll need to be at least 21, hold a full HGV 1 (C+E) heavy rigid licence with no more than six current penalty points, and hold a driver qualification card.

Tesco jobs ads for lorry drivers state that drivers will be “the face of Tesco out on the road” and, as well as driving, the role is about “helping others and delivering great service, with a smile.”

The coronavirus pandemic has seen travel to the UK become extremely restricted, with many European drivers not coming to the UK due to Covid-19 and Brexit. It’s also harder to get new HGV drivers on the road due to a backlog in HGV driver tests.

Meanwhile, thousands of people are being forced into self-isolation for up to 10 days at a time after being pinged by the NHS Covid app.

Logistics UK, which represents freight owners including supermarkets, has criticised current self-isolation rules.

Elizabeth de Jong, policy director at Logistics UK, said: “Logistics as a sector is flexible and adaptable and has maintained supplies of everything UK plc needs throughout the pandemic.  Many of our workers operate in isolation and the risk of infection passing between them is very low – however, for those in warehouses and distribution centres, the risk is higher.

“Having deemed logistics a ‘key’ industry at the start of the pandemic, the government should be maintaining this designation and providing a blanket exemption for the industry. Those with two vaccinations and recording negative test results should be allowed to continue to work. This will provide resilience for the UK’s supply chain and prevent unnecessary administration time being wasted.”

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