Aldi is the latest major supermarket to take action over the lack of lorry drivers currently afflicting the UK.
The chain has increased its wages for drivers so they can earn up to £18.41 per hour.
Meanwhile, HGV drivers from agencies who were receiving £350 a day in January are now said to be making around £800 a day.
Aldi has a reputation as one of the food supply industry’s highest payers and is believed to have made the move to prevent workers being poached by other firms.
Tesco last week launched a bonus scheme for new candidates who join the firm as drivers before 30 September, and Morrisons is developing schemes to train staff to become drivers. Tesco’s Booker wholesale arm has given drivers at its Hemel Hempstead depot a temporary £5-an-hour pay rise, according to the Unite union.
According to TotalJobs, the average annual pay for large goods vehicle drivers is £31,787. Jobs website Glassdoor estimates Tesco’s base rate average pay for HGV drivers in UK at £29,000; Sainsbury’s at £33,000; Morrisons’ about £30,000; and Aldi’s at £37,000.
The shortage of drivers is contributing to food supply problems that have become apparent to shoppers as they are presented with empty shelves in stores. Brexit and the loss of many European drivers, the large-scale “pinging” of workers who may have been exposed to people with Covid, and delays in HGV driving tests are contributory factors behind the shortage but the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has for several years warned of shortages to come. It now estimates there is a shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers across the UK.
Local authority services have also been affected by the driver shortage with refuse collections not taking place at council areas across the UK.
Rod McKenzie, managing director of policy and public affairs at the Road Haulage Association, told the Times: “The supply chain is creaking as never before and it is hampering our ability to bounce back from Covid.
“The government thinks it is up to the industry to sort it out, but they could allow foreign drivers in on short-term visas while we address longer term problems around training drivers.”