HAULAGE firms across Wales are having to increase wages in a bid to keep its lorry drivers amidst the backdrop of a shortage of drivers.

In July, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) said that the driver shortage stood at 100,000 and called on the UK Government to do more.

A month on and firms are still battling to improve the situation, with one company stating they have had to increase wages in a bid to keep their workers.

A spokesperson for the Owens Group, based in Llanelli said: “We’re very short of drivers and we’re also trying to retain the ones we’ve got.

“There is a mass shortage of drivers affecting everyone and we have increased wages two or three times already to try and retain some of the drivers.

“We’re also trying to entice the younger generation to get more drivers and that is part of our recruitment process.

“Statistics showed that 30,000 driving tests had been lost throughout the covid pandemic which is one of the reasons behind the shortage.”

The UK Government had previously said they were working with hauliers to try and improve the situation.

Asked if they had heard anything from the UK Government, the spokesperson added they had heard ‘nothing at all’.

Ministers have pledged to work with industry leaders to attract new drivers, simplify training and encourage people to stay in the sector.

But the Road Haulage Association (RHA) said in July that the crisis was ‘so great’ that it needed immediate short-term measures allowing the industry to work towards the longer-term fixes.

Speaking to the BBC last month, Ian Jarman from Owens Group added that there could be delivery shortages if the situation doesn’t improve in the coming months.

RHA Chief Executive, Richard Burnett said: “The problem is immediate, and we need to have access to drivers from overseas on short-term visas. The idea to simplify training and speed up testing is welcome; along with encouraging recruitment it will only improve things in a year or two’s time.”