Brexit Causes Vegetable Pickers’ Salaries To Soar

People working in the agricultural sector have been deeply affected by Brexit, as it has become increasingly difficult to recruit overseas’ workers to pick fruit and vegetables.

As a result, farmers are having to offer higher, more competitive salaries to attract British employees to do the same jobs, with one farm offering £30 per hour for field operatives.

TH Clements and Son Ltd, which is based in Lincolnshire, has advertised for staff to harvest its broccoli all year round.

Those working 40 hours a week picking vegetables could, therefore, take home a salary of £62,400 for the year, Metro reported.

While farmers used to rely heavily on Eastern European workers, due to new immigration rules as a result of Brexit, there are not as many foreigners in the UK and, subsequently, not enough demand for the roles.

Regional director of the National Farmers’ Union Robert Newbery was reported by the newspaper as saying: “The people that could move freely within Europe before now can’t.”

He added this is “certainly having an impact” on farms being able to recruit workers.

Currently, the government has a Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Scheme, which allows 30,000 people from abroad to work in the UK’s agricultural sector for six months a year.

However, this comes with limitations, particularly following the pandemic. These include making sure workers produce a negative Covid-19 test result before coming to the UK and not travelling if they have any symptoms.

Employees also may need to self-isolate on entry to the country; take rapid lateral flow tests twice a week while working on the farm; have been fully vaccinated; and understand British Covid-19 related safety procedures.

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