No milkshake at McDonald’s and chicken at KFC: the UK crisis

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Supermarkets with empty shelves, pubs without beer, McDonald’s sem milk-shake, KFC no chicken. This may look like a movie scene but it’s actually the new reality of United Kingdom. With the scarcity of products and services increasing every day, the country is going through a crisis that goes far beyond what can be seen on the shelves – or lack of it – affecting an entire supply chain.

Job vacancies grew 20% compared to the pre-pandemic level. The need for manpower has reached almost every profession, including computer programmers, health assistants and agricultural workers — as it is a key time for crops and food is rotting in the fields.

However, the UK also has nearly 250,000 more unemployed than before the pandemic. And that’s not counting the roughly one million people who are still on leave — not working or working part-time while receiving government wage subsidies. Many will likely lose their jobs when the program ends this month.

The job market is at an impasse: Employers have vacancies to fill and many people are looking for work, but the vacancies don’t match what people are prepared or want to do. The United States is experiencing the same problem and is already threatening President Biden’s massive infrastructure construction plans.

GettyImages 1234179100 No milkshake at McDonald's and chicken at KFC: the UK crisis Empty shelves: problem has become part of everyday life in the UK.

Empty shelves: problem has become part of everyday life in the UK. (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

But what is the explanation for this scenario? For experts, it is a combination of Brexit and the pandemic, which ended up contributing to the shortage of workers and introduced new trade barriers with the European Union.

The pandemic pressured food producers and restaurants to find workers. In recent months, staff shortages have been reinforced by UK rules — which were dropped last week — that require people to isolate themselves if they come into contact with someone who has been infected with the coronavirus.