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‘Pioneering and dynamic’ sectors at threat from labour crisis

All the respondants to the NFUS Seasonal Workers Survey were worried about labour shortages.


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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‘Pioneering and dynamic’ sectors at threat from labour crisis

Potato, fruit and vegetable businesses in Scotland could reduce production or close altogether, if a solution to labour shortages is not found.

 

NFU Scotland said the sectors were amongst the ‘most pioneering and dynamic’ in the face of adverse growing conditions but they were under threat due to labour shortages caused by unfavourable exchange rates and changing economies in the EU.


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The shortage has been also been compounded by Brexit.

 

Seasonal

 

All the respondents to the NFUS seasonal workers survey said non-UK labour was important to their business and they were either ‘concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ about the impact of labour shortages.

65 per cent said recruitment of non-UK workers was more difficult in 2017 than 2016 with almost three quarters expecting new and increased challenges in 2018. 48 per cent had difficulty harvesting in 2017 due to labour issues.

 

Vital

 

NFUS president Andrew McCornick said it was vital a solution was found to attract non-UK workers to Scotland to undertake agricultural seasonal work for up to ten months with in-built flexibility to allow workers to move from farm-to-farm as harvests complete.

 

“This is an immediate issue, but what is also becoming of increasing concern is how Scotland’s agricultural and food processing sectors will continue to employ and retain non-UK workers for permanent positions up and down the supply chain after Brexit,” he said.

 

He added the union would be publishing a report next week ahead of meetings with the Home Office and MPs.

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