- Packing Supervisor
- International Account Manager
- Head Grower Greenhouse Canada
- Post Entry Quarantine Facility Manager
- Economic Policy Officer Agri-Tech Kentucky
- Licensing Manager North America
- Junior Sales Executive
- Fruit Breeder/Trait Discovery Scientist
- General Manager
- Regional Sales Manager – DACH Region
Top 5 -yesterday
Top 5 -last week
Top 5 -last month
- El Niño will probably add to misery of SA farmers
- Avocado consumption reduces total cholesterol and Ldl C
- Criminal ‘food sellers’ are posing problems in South Africa
- "I am destroying my celery because they humiliate us offering just a few cents"
- Pomegranate grower gets off expensive chemical carousel
UK, Brexit and labour shortages
"It is a supply issue which has been made worse by Brexit"
"FPC welcomes the statement made last week on the future rights of EU citizens," said Nigel Jenney, Chief Executive at the Fresh Produce Consortium. "It recognises the importance of giving much needed security to EU nationals working here in our industry and who wish to remain in the UK after Brexit. However, there is still a long way to go to provide absolute certainty and confidence for the UK fresh produce industry and for those individuals who come to the UK to make a valuable contribution to our businesses."
Nigel said that we need to able to access the EU labour market for both permanent and temporary positions throughout the supply chain. "Many UK businesses are already experiencing a tightening in the supply of temporary labour for a combination of reasons. We will continue to press the UK Government to work with us to put in place a flexible scheme which provides access to labour across a range of skills levels, and which will provide businesses with the assurance to invest in future growth in the UK."
But it seems that in some aspects of the fresh produce industry, Brexit has already made its mark.
"Nothing has really changed," said Sarah Boparan from Recruitment firm HOPS Labour Solutions. "We still have no answer from the Government on the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS). The recent decision in the Brexit negotiations to allow European workers to stay and have the same rights in the UK has not changed their inclination to come to the UK."
The problem, according to Sarah is that there are so many companies sourcing from the same group of people that it is difficult to encourage people to choose the UK and to do this kind of job. This affects the length of their stay and their dedication to the job, meaning the fresh produce sector can't rely on this labour in the same way that they have been able to.
"The period of uncertainty caused by Brexit initially put people off coming to the UK, but it is starting to settle as conditions here are far better than in some other EU countries, for example in Germany the wages are better but the accommodation is at a lower standard. There are less and less people, even from overseas who want to do these jobs as there are far better jobs available for them. People with higher levels of English are being sought after by companies.
"The communities from which we are now sourcing are becoming more rural, and with that goes the anxiety of leaving home and travelling for the first time, this alone is a big step for them. Then there is the issue of staying over here for a long time during harvest, which is not just three months as some MPs believe. It is a big commitment for them, we want them to sign up for six months and they will only commit to eight weeks, but obviously a grower needs more commitment."
"It is a supply issue which has been made worse by Brexit, which caused a lot of uncertainty amongst people already here. There also still a lot of xenophobia in the UK and people wonder if they would be welcome.
Another factor is that the European benefit system is changing, "What is happening is that people are coming here to work for a period of time and then return to their home countries and claim higher benefits for a longer period of time which does not encourage them to come back.
Sarah said they have had to change their business model to make themselves more attractive to applicants, and more companies are going to have to change and offer things such as no optional fees to applications, so they do not have to pay for their own flights up front. "This is just one example, we are constantly looking for ways, other countries where we can access people from, visa schemes etc. but nothing is ever certain, we are not dealing with a commodity we are dealing with people."
Receive the daily newsletter in your email for free | Click here
Other news in this sector:
- 2023-02-02 The Government of Spain will pay 300 million euro to farmers because of increased fertilizer prices
- 2023-02-02 Onfleet welcomes Cory Woolf as chief financial officer, announces new partnership ecosystem
- 2023-02-02 "In a market with tight margins like in fresh produce, payments in local currency can make the difference"
- 2023-02-01 Tosca welcomes Dan Lee as EMEA President
- 2023-02-01 Third generation grower Scott Montague elected as Chair of Australian Fresh Produce Alliance
- 2023-01-31 Fresh produce consumption remains under pressure in Europe
- 2023-01-27 "California keeps looking for ways to raise prices, drive away more businesses and destroy growth"
- 2023-01-19 New CEO appointed for the National Fruit Show
- 2023-01-19 IFPA appoints new country manager for Southern Africa
- 2023-01-12 Spanish growers protest government plans to curb water supply for irrigation
- 2023-01-12 Germany ponders proposal to scrap VAT on fruit and vegetables
- 2023-01-09 Gabriel Avalos joins Awe Sum Organics as General Manager
- 2023-01-09 World Potato Congress Inc announces new President, VP and board director
- 2023-01-09 Westfalia Fruit Group appoints new Chief People Officer
- 2023-01-06 South Africans urged to curb water use
- 2023-01-06 Kazakhstan: Inflation exceeded 20% in 2022
- 2023-01-06 Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita: "EU corruption reports are ‘judicial and media harassment’"
- 2023-01-06 Son of Hortifrut’s founder appointed as new Chairman
- 2023-01-05 Life of British logistics expert Neil Cotterell remembered
- 2023-01-02 A loadshedding schedule that responds to the needs of the agri sector