Farmers Guradian
Topics
Nine ways to keep your farm vehicles safe

Nine ways to keep your farm vehicles safe

Arable Farming Magazine

Arable Farming Magazine

Dairy Farmer Magazine

Dairy Farmer Magazine

CropTec

LAMMA 2018

New to Farmers Guardian?
Register Now
Login or Register
New to Farmers Guardian?
Register Now
New to Farmers Guardian?
Register Now

You are viewing your 1 free article

Register now to receive 2 free articles every 7 days
Already a Member?

Login | Join us now

'We are struggling to find workers' - Staff shortages as agriculture gets caught in 'immigration crossfire'

Labour shortages have already started to hit the UK farm sector fuelling fears the 2017 season could be disaster for growers, with crops being left to ’rot in the field’.



Twitter Facebook
Twitter Facebook

John Hardman, director of horticultural and agricultural recruitment specialist HOPS which supplies about 12,000 EU workers to UK farms each year, said he had been unable to fulfil labour orders for some growers and expected the situation would only get worse as the UK headed for Brexit.

 

He said: “This occurred last year and we anticipated it happening again this season with added magnitude, and it has.

 

“We are struggling desperately to find workers, especially for farms in Scotland, where the perception is that conditions are bleak and the work is hard. Workers simply do not want to go.”

 

Mr Hardman said while the company had presented directly to workers in Bulgaria, Romania and Poland – countries which the UK has traditionally relied upon for low and medium skilled agricultural workers – they were opting for ‘easier’ work in hospitality and construction where they could earn the same amount of money or more.

 

“People who were once desperate for the money when these countries joined the EU are now finding they can do other things and agriculture is not as attractive,” he added.

 

“We are going to have this issue Brexit or no Brexit but of course Brexit has exacerbated it.

 

“The UK is being seen by these countries as unfriendly and not welcoming.”

’Immigration crossfire’

 

Chris Chinn, a partner at Cobrey Farms which grows 810 hectares (2,000 acres) of asparagus and employs about 1,000 seasonal workers in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, said UK agriculture was being caught in the ‘migration crossfire’.

 

“The Government’s clear message is that we do not need EU labour, the borders will close in March 2019 and there will be no seasonal agricultural workers scheme,” said Mr Chinn, who recently fed into a Government select committee on access to EU labour.

 

“That shortage will wipe out the labour intensive horticulture sector in this country.

 

“We will be recruiting in October 2018 for the 2019 season so we need to resolve this situation pretty quickly. It is already having a dramatic impact.”

 

Mr Hardman added: “Crops such as strawberries are time sensitive and have to be picked by hand so the pressure is really on and this will have a knock-on-effect on stone fruit, top fruit and winter veg. While we await a workable solution crops will rot in the field.”

 

Reduction

 

Their concerns chimed with a CLA report which found 44 per cent of members had experienced a reduction in the availability of migrant labour over the past year.

 

CLA senior economics adviser Dr Charles Trotman said: “To support the already acute shortage of labour a new seasonal agricultural workers scheme must be introduced immediately, not after the UK has left the EU and the Government must also confirm the status of EU migrant workers in sectors such as food processing, horticulture and tourism already resident in the UK.”

 

  • The Government estimates about 75,000 temporary migrant workers are employed in UK agriculture and horticulture.

Read More

Eustice flounders on migrant labour Eustice flounders on migrant labour
Farming industry cannot function without guarantee on migrant labour Farming industry cannot function without guarantee on migrant labour
Henry Gent: 'Is it time we all had a good look at farming's use of migrant labour?' Henry Gent: 'Is it time we all had a good look at farming's use of migrant labour?'
Migrant row could be harming farming industry Migrant row could be harming farming industry
Minister denies Brexit has had an impact on migrant labour Minister denies Brexit has had an impact on migrant labour

Twitter Facebook
Post a Comment
To see comments and join in the conversation please log in.
Facebook
Twitter
RSS
Facebook
Twitter
RSS