NFU Lancashire County Chairman Colin Bradley welcomed Mark Menzies MP to his farm to talk about the issue of labour availability when we leave the EU.
Colin is director and co-founder of Fylde Fresh and Fabulous, one of the UK's most established potato producers. Mr Menzies, who is the MP for Fylde, was given the opportunity to meet members of the management team who were all from Poland and had made their home in Lancashire. As with many Lancashire growers, access to labour from Eastern Europe has allowed the business to grow and develop. The meeting gave Mr Menzies the opportunity to hear first-hand the impact that the decision to leave the EU has had on migrant workers.
Factory manager Adrian Proniewicz said: “Brexit is a worry for us. I have worked at Fylde Fresh and Fabulous for eleven years and made my life here with my family. The possibility of being asked to leave is not very nice.”
All the Polish managers said they had always been in full employment and never claimed for benefits. All had been promoted into management roles and had houses and families here.
Fylde Fresh and Fabulous Director David Linton stated: “These managers and the other 20 EU nationals working here are essential to the running of our business. We would find it impossible to replace the same level of knowledge skills and dedication from local sources at the moment. As such it is essential we retain and can attract personnel from Europe ongoing.”
NFU Lancashire County Adviser Adam Briggs added: “The message was made loud and clear. Access to labour is essential to many businesses post Brexit. People do still want to come to the UK to work and we need to make sure that they are made welcome and the process is not overly bureaucratic.”