With so many conflicting stories in the media, a heap of jargon and talking points that only seem to predict chaos how are you supposed to know if Brexit will affect your job in a warehouse or not.
Knowledge is power so let’s demystify Brexit.
What is Brexit?
Brexit is a slang term that means ‘British Exit’. More accurately, it is the term used to describe the United Kingdom’s leaving of the European Union (EU).
What is the EU?
The European Union is a collection of 28 countries that among other things, trade with each other and allow citizens to move easily between countries to live and work.
Why are we leaving the EU?
A public vote (referendum) was held in June 2016 and 52% (17.4m) of the voting British public voted to leave, whereas 48% (16.1m) British voters wanted to remain. The reasons behind why people wanted to leave and why people wanted to stay are vast. Anyone you ask will have their own reason for voting the way they did. The point is, we are now leaving and soon.
When are we leaving?
The original departure date was 29th March 2019 but it was delayed while negotiations took place and continue to take place over exactly how the UK leaves, not what will happen afterwards. This is known as a withdrawal agreement, you could think of it as sort of divorce deal, the one before the decision over who gets to keep the Craig David CD’s and whether there is to be shared custody of the cat is made. 31st October 2019 is the new date that has been set for leaving the EU.
What are the agreement sticking points?
- What will happen to UK citizens living in the EU and what will happen to the EU citizens living in the UK?
- How much will the UK have to pay to leave the UK? Current figures are around 39 billion
- The transition period that will allow the UK and the EU to agree a trade deal and give businesses the time to adjust.
- How to avoid a physical border between Southern and Northern Ireland.
What happens next?
If the Prime Minister cannot reach a satisfactory withdrawal agreement by 31st October he has promised to proceed with the exit of the EU without a deal. Most importantly this will result in no transition period for businesses to adjust to the new rules, EU law would stop applying to the UK immediately.
How does all this affect your job in a warehouse?
Citizenship and your right to work in the UK should be your primary focus right now. If you are a UK citizen your working rights within in the UK will not be affected.
If you are an EU citizen currently working and residing in the UK, you will keep your residence under the conditions of the EU free movement law as though it still applied, however you will need to make an application to the UK authorities for status. If you have accumulated 5 years of legal residence in the UK, you can apply for your residence status to be upgraded to a permanent one. You can find out more information here.
Trade is a big part of the Brexit discussions, how we transport goods across borders into and out of other EU countries and the border control processes that will be in place. Much of the worry is the backlog that could be created at the border slowing down the import and export of goods and the potential rise in prices in a no-deal situation.
While UK citizens continue to demand access to goods in shops the border delays could cause shortages, therefore many organisations have started stockpiling goods in UK warehouses to ensure a seamless supply is available.
This stockpiling has caused issues of its own, the lack of available warehousing space has reached a critical point, businesses are resorting to taking out credit to fund their stock purchases and shoppers are following their lead and are turning to stockpiling their own supplies.
For warehouse workers this means things are busier than usual, trying to stay on top of the entire logistics chain; supply, demand and especially effective storage. What will really happen after 31st October is impossible to predict so we say make hay while the sun shines, say yes to the overtime, embrace the opportunity to work in different areas of the warehouse and try out differing roles.
If you are looking at longer term career progression, this could also be an excellent time to think about getting your Class 1 truck driving licence, agency drivers will always be needed but during these unpredictable times you can be sure they will be needed more than ever. Find out how to become a Class 1 driver here and about the different commercial driving licenses here.