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‘Few’ pork butchers sign up to Government emergency visa scheme

By 06/12/2021No Comments

The organisation said that were very few butchers expected to arrive in time for the Christmas period. 

“The number and speed of emergency visas for pork butchers being processed has been disappointing to date, with very few butchers expected to arrive in early December,” said a BMPA spokesman.  

“The big question is whether many will even decide to come to the UK this close to Christmas, or whether they’ll decide to leave it until the New Year. The changing Covid landscape could also impact how many emergency butchers we’re able to recruit.” 

Changing Covid landscape

In October, the Government unveiled plans to allow 800 foreign abattoir workers into the UK on temporary visas.  It extended the seasonal worker scheme to pork butchers​. The move was in response to the widely reported struggles in the pork industry, the pressures of Covid-19, Brexit and labour shortages. 

The trade association added that the Britain’s meat processing industry has suffered deteriorating capacity and morale as a result of the chronic labour shortage. However, the BMPA said this is a two-year re-balancing exercise, not a quick fix before Christmas and, come New Year’s Day, this labour crisis will still be strangling the British food industry.

 “Government doesn’t understand the current make-up of the UK labour market, which has undergone a huge structural change since Brexit and Covid began taking effect,” ​the spokesman added. 

Face reality

“The Government needs to face reality and allow more workers in to the country to take up these jobs immediately. The kind of experienced workers we need simply don’t exist in the UK right now and it will take the next two years to recruit and train British people.”

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