The NFU is aware that members who produce seasonal poultry for the Christmas market will be facing issues if skilled workers that return to them season after season, mainly from other EU countries, are required to quarantine for 14 days before they can commence work on farms.
In an effort to secure alternative arrangements for such seasonal workers, we have been in conversation with Defra and are now seeking further information from affected members to help demonstrate why intervention is needed.
What we need to know:
- Location of your business
- Whether you are a farmer processing on farm or you have purpose-built processing facilities
- Species and numbers of birds that you will be slaughtering this year
- Number of European workers you require this year to enter and leave the UK for the Christmas seasonal work period
- Number of these workers who are returnees to your business who enter and leave the UK for the Christmas seasonal work period
- Number of returnees who will not come if they must quarantine – broken down by task i.e. catching, slaughter, evisceration or packing
- Arrival date of the workers you require from Europe
- Departure date of the workers you require from Europe
- Which country/countries are workers are coming from
- Is the recruitment managed by yourself directly or an agency
- A brief description of which tasks workers will be required to carry out, for example catching, slaughter, evisceration or packing including how many workers do each task
- How many of the workers hold the relevant qualifications such as a certificate of competence for the work they are carrying out
- Is the accommodation used for migrant seasonal labour on site?
- If not on site, can accommodation and transport to and from site be managed to ensure it is COVID-19 secure?
- Any issues or the impact on your business that you anticipate if the European workers you are expecting to come cannot come
- Any issues or the impact on bird welfare that you anticipate if the European workers you are expecting to come cannot come
- Any measures you have taken or plan to take to try and address the potential shortage of labour
- Would it be economically viable for you to pay workers to quarantine for two weeks without working, if not please can you briefly explain why not?
- Your evidence and views on viability of recruiting resident workers to replace returnee migrants (taking into account higher unemployment rates in the UK at present)
- Any additional information you wish to provide
Please note that the intention is to share the information collected (on an anonymised basis) to help support a case for alternative quarantine arrangements for seasonal poultry workers. While we have been, and will continue to, work hard to ensure officials are aware of the consequences if alternative arrangements for seasonal poultry workers are not sought promptly, we are all also mindful of the fact there are public health considerations at play here and, while we hope for a positive outcome, members should be considering their own contingency plans if access to European workers without a quarantine period on arrival is not granted.
You might also be interested in:
- NFU survey seeks information on livestock and poultry transport and fitness to travel
- New compulsory Lion Code training passport scheme to launch in January 2021
- Avian Influenza: Defra release quarterly report
- NFU Turkey Shop: Order your merchandise now
- Review of pig and poultry permits coming
More from NFUonline:
- Agriculture Bill: Your last chance to influence this vital legislation
- NFU Live: Events from the NFU this autumn
- Watch now: Your weekly video update from the President