Brexit immigration rules blamed on chicken run
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British chicken makers said that the immigration restrictions after Brexit should be blamed on staff shortages, forcing them to reduce supplies, causing restaurants such as KFC and Nando to cut menu items and close branches.
One of the UK’s largest chicken producers, 2 Sisters Food Group, said on Wednesday that it is suffering from a “prolonged” staff shortage in processing birds, resulting in a lack of meat for customers including Nando’s.
According to 2 Sisters, the workforce has been affected by the coronavirus, but immigration restrictions after Brexit have had a more serious impact.
The British Poultry Commission issued a letter this month to the Secretary of the Interior Priti Patel (Priti Patel) warning the government that the “Financial Times” sees that the shortage of employees has forced chicken producers to reduce their weekly supply by as much as 10%. It is estimated that the supply of turkey this Christmas may be reduced by one-fifth.
The letter said: “We are facing a severe shortage of production operators and processing personnel, who are classified as low-skilled workers by the Ministry of the Interior, but play an extremely important role in maintaining food supplies and supporting their families.”
It warned that “there is a real risk of irreversible food shortages and rising food prices in the future”.
Percentage of 40,000 UK poultry workers from the EU
The committee called for immigration reforms, such as making poultry workers eligible for “skilled worker” visas and including them in the current seasonal labor program for gardening.
The warning about food supplies comes as the UK is facing food shortages truck driver This resulted in the interruption of the processing and distribution of a range of products, including milk And packaging. The Covid infection rate and self-quarantine rules exacerbate this problem.
But the high demand for chicken, coupled with dependence on Eastern European workers, makes the poultry industry particularly vulnerable.
Approximately 60% of the 40,000 workers in this industry are from the European Union, making it vulnerable to changes in immigration after Brexit. The new points-based system benefits highly educated workers and well-paid workers with job opportunities.
Not all suppliers are affected: wholesaler Brakes said it has not encountered major problems. However, 2 Sisters, which also supplies supermarkets such as Tesco, said that labor supply is a “critical issue” and is “unlikely to change” under the current immigration system.
Another leading chicken supplier, Avara Foods, said: “This looks more and more like a structural change in the UK labor market, and there is no clear sign that it will be resolved soon.”
Poultry accounts for half of the meat consumed in the UK. The industry’s supply chain is tight and profits are meager. The sudden increase in demand for chicken in restaurants that were allowed to resume operations on July 19 has exacerbated the shortage.
Due to the outage, Nando’s closed 45 of its 450 restaurants this week. It stated that it has deployed 70 employees on shifts to suppliers to help pack chickens.
KFC warned of supply issues in a tweet last week, saying that some restaurants are facing shortages and that they “may need to change their menu temporarily.”
Marielle Agawin, manager of the London-based restaurant chain Bird, said that her Canary Wharf website has repeatedly lacked chicken thighs and wings. “We will not stop trading, but it will make things more complicated,” she said.
Jollibee, the Philippine fried chicken group, said it is “making contingency plans” to deal with shortages.
The Ministry of the Interior did not respond to a request for comment.
Food companies and restaurant owners also warned that tight supplies of packaging materials, greaseproof paper and some meats have caused prices to rise, while operators are struggling to keep up with wage increases due to lack of workers.
Shan Selvendran, managing director of the fast-food chain Morley’s, said the price of lamb chops in particular was “surging”.