Romanian pickers arrive as questions arise over UK workers

Organised by Air Charter Service on behalf of Cambridgeshire-based G’s, the flight brought some 150 workers into the country, with G’s saying it has worked in line with guidance from Public Health England, and that workers will be quarantined for two weeks from arrival. A similar flight for Irish fruit supplier Keelings from Bulgaria attracted widespread criticism, but both companies said the foreign workers would provide much needed experience alongside new workers.

Separately, reports form some farms that British workers have not lasted more than a week have been denied by those seeking work, who have accused the horticultural industry of not being prepared for UK workers. Criticisms have included the need to live on site and being unable to use your own vehicle.

As the government launches a new ‘Pick for Britain’ website to link prospective employees with jobs, organisations such as British Growers and the NFU has said they expect the majority of seasonal labour this year to come from the UK.

“A lot of signs are optimistic, and we have really positive news,” NFU president Minette Batters told The Guardian. “We are hearing people are very keen [to work on farms]. There does seem to be a real swell of support from people to do this.”

However, NFU vice-president Tom Bradshaw said he could understand why people felt frustrated over the lack of job offers. “In a way, the media publicity has come a bit too soon, because the jobs don’t peak until the end of May and June,” he said.

Photo source: Pick for Britain

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