Access to Labour Crucial for UK Meat Processing Sector

SCOTLAND, UK - Scotland’s farmers, crofters and meat processors have united to highlight the importance of non-UK labour to Scotland’s red meat sector, in the light of the Brexit vote.
calendar icon 2 September 2016
clock icon 2 minute read

With an estimated 50 per cent of the workforce in some of Scotland’s abattoirs and meat processing plants thought to be non-UK, NFU Scotland and the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) are jointly calling on the UK government to provide assurances on their status now to provide stability going forward.

NFU Scotland’s livestock chair Charlie Adam, a beef farmer from Aberdeenshire, met Frank Clark, Senior Vice President of SAMW, to discuss the risks to Scotland’s meat trade if supply of non-UK labour is cut off after the UK leaves the EU.

Speaking after the meeting, Charlie Adam said: “Everyone involved in Scottish livestock needs a healthy, efficient processing sector to keep the Scottish meat industry and the Scotch brand growing and moving forward. And ongoing access to non-UK staff are a crucial part of that.

“While the timetable for Brexit remains to be defined, it is essential our abattoirs and processors don’t operate in an employment vacuum. Without a clear Government-led employment strategy for non-UK staff identified at an early stage in the process, we will see our abattoirs struggle to function.

“We are calling on the Government to ensure that abattoirs are not cut off from recruiting appropriate staff from outside the UK. These are permanent jobs and many of them are highly skilled."

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