By Adam Clark


J.D. Wetherspoon PLC's boss on Thursday denied that shortages of some beer brands were linked to Brexit, attributing the problems to industrial action by staff working for Heineken NV.

The pub chain's chairman, Tim Martin--who supported the U.K. leaving the European Union--said limited shortages followed threatened industrial action in recent weeks by drivers and warehouse staff working for Heineken. The Dutch beer company said last month that it was looking for alternative delivery methods and advising customers to order extra products in advance of the planned industrial action.

"There are supply-chain issues in many EU countries following the pandemic. It has been widely reported that there are shortages of 400,000 HGV [heavy-goods vehicles] drivers in Germany, France and Spain, for example, and Germany in particular is struggling with major world-wide supply-chain issues," Mr. Martin said.

Fast-food chains McDonald's, Nando's and Greggs PLC have all recently been forced to remove some items from their menus or close outlets in the U.K. due to supply-chain issues. While a lack of workers has been partly attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic delaying training, and keeping staff at home, industry bodies have also said Brexit has contributed to the problem.

Freight trade association Logistics UK said last week that 14,000 EU drivers left employment in the U.K. in the year to June 2020 and that only 600 had returned. It called for the granting of 10,000 temporary work visas to encourage EU drivers to return but the British government has urged employers to rely on the domestic workforce.

"Brexit gave the power to the U.K. government to allow more HGV drivers in, should it choose to do so," Mr. Martin said.


Write to Adam Clark at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 02, 2021 09:42 ET (13:42 GMT)

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