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COVID and Seasonal Workers in UK – Government asks millions of students and furloughed workers to pick fruit and veg

Farms won’t be able to recruit seasonal fruit and veg pickers from Europe, so those at a loose end will be asked to step in under the ‘Pick for Britain’ scheme.

The government is to ask millions of university students and furloughed workers to pick fruit and veg amid the coronavirus crisis in a national “Pick for Britain” campaign next week.

The pandemic and its restrictions on travel means farms will no longer be able to rely on temporary staff, many of whom come from Eastern Europe each year to harvest crops.

Ministers are expected to officially launch a national call to action in the coming days, alongside industry bosses, to ensure vital supplies of fresh fruit and vegetables are not left to wither.

The National Farmers Union (NFU) believes up to 95% of the usual 70,000-strong seasonal workforce may be lost, and that UK-based employees unable to do their day-today jobs will need to step in.

Vice president Tom Bradshaw told HuffPost UK: “We are nervous, but we’re hopeful the British public will step up to the challenge in the national interest.

“Obviously picking is quite labour-intensive, and this is a commercial operation, so there will need to be some give and take between farms and those willing to put themselves forward to make sure it works for everyone.

“But we have been working closely with government on the scheme, and they have taken steps to make it easier for people to get involved – for example, by allowing furloughed workers to take on a second job.”

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ Government To Ask Millions Of Students And Furloughed Workers To Pick Fruit And Veg | HuffPost UK

See also

Two planes carrying Japanese European farmhands arrived Thursday in Germany as an ambitious authorities program to import 1000’s of seasonal agricultural personnel bought underway amid strict precautions to defend both the laborers and the country from the new coronavirus.

via Germany Flies In Seasonal Farm Employees Amid Rigid COVID-19 Restrictions – Go Tech Daily


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