Convincing European workers to return to Britain will be hard because drivers have been treated badly and discriminated against, said Tomasz Orynski, 41, who drives trucks part-time in Scotland. He moved to Britain from Poland in 2005 but intends to move back to the European Union soon.
“You are being told all the time how you’re a burden to this country,” he said, referring to Britain. “All while the salaries were stagnating for a decade or more. So what do you do? You pack up and go back to your country, which over all those years developed rapidly.”
Even if some drivers decide to take up the temporary visas in Britain, it’s unlikely they will be working for the full three months available because recruitment and relocation could take weeks. For the past seven years, Emil Gerasimov, the head of driving for Ideal Recruit, has brought in drivers from abroad, particularly from Romania, Bulgaria and Poland. The temporary visas are unlikely to provide much relief.
“Why would they leave a secure job in Europe to work here for three months?” he said.
Near London’s Heathrow Airport, Steve Bowles runs Roy Bowles Transport, which moves cargo. The company is named after his father who started the business in the 1950s. It has about 40 vehicles and moves goods only within a 50-mile radius of the airport, meaning some of the harder aspects of the job, such as long nights on the road, are avoided.