The Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS) has called on Ministers to extend Covid rules for seasonal workers in the horticulture sector to staff on turkey processing sites in the run-up to Christmas.
At the moment, Government regulations allow fruit and vegetable pickers to include their 14-day self-isolation period in their work schedule, providing they live on-farm.
But workers on turkey farms and processing sites, who come to the UK for the seven weeks from November to mid-December, are not given the same opportunity.
AIMS head of policy Norman Bagley warned ‘time is running out’ for turkey farmers to make travel plans and ensure they have enough available labour to provide meat for the UK’s Christmas celebrations.
“We have members who have employed the same people year after year,” he said.
“These skilled staff travel from countries such as Slovakia and Poland to live and work on the farms, processing turkey for our country’s annual Christmas celebrations.
“Our members have told us they will ensure the staff have been tested for coronavirus before they arrive in the UK, as well as having provision to test once they are here.
“We are asking the Government to urgently update the rules for seasonal agricultural workers to include short-stay turkey processing workers.”