Blog: Botching the migrant labour system
Catherine Sleep | 19 May 2004
Tackling the problem of illegal immigrants working in the food sector, often for ruthlessly exploitative gang masters, has risen rapidly up the UK government’s agenda since the tragedy in which 20 cockle pickers died earlier this year.
Trouble is, sometimes a knee-jerk reaction can do more harm than good. Here’s a case in point: for years many UK fruit farms have been quite legally employing student workers from Bulgaria and Romania. They are recruited for specific jobs to help at harvest time and arrive on short-term visas.
But at the end of March Home Secretary David Blunkett cancelled the scheme that provides the students’ visas, which has been running since World War II. They already have work permits and jobs to go to, but now cannot get visas to travel. Growers, many of whom recruited their fruit-picking workforce back in the autumn, are anxious that their fruit will go unpicked – and therefore unsold.
If supermarkets are forced to buy even more of their produce from overseas suppliers, will they come back to their UK suppliers another year?
This is a kick in the teeth for fruit farmers who have made sure they followed all the regulations to the letter and recruited workers with the right papers. They may now find themselves forced to rely on workers whose credentials they cannot accurately trace. That leaves them open to prosecution, and illegal immigrants open to exploitation.
Not ideal, is it?
UPDATE 20th May: Visas of this type have been reinstated. Hurrah.
Blue Bell Creameries is trying to win back the trust of consumers after a fatal listeriosis outbreak last year was linked to its products - but in recent days the US ice cream maker has issued another...
The UK's competition regulator has given the all-clear to Hain Celestial's bid to buy UK food and beverage group Orchard House Foods, nine months after the US group announced the deal....
Hershey made an unusual announcement today (20 September), sharing its own sales data for the last four weeks to assuage any possible investor concern over figures released by Nielsen....
As the UK starts to ponder what kind of a relationship it wants with the European Union post-Brexit, EU leaders have been lining up to warn that Britain will not be allowed to "cherry pick" deals and ...
- Interview: Mondelez eyes sweet success in China
- The benefits of engaging staff in sustainability
- How food companies involve staff in sustainability
- Interview: Mondelez's outlook for China
- What next for Bernard Matthews? - comment
- Fonterra says value-added strategy paying off
- Ireland unveils national plan to tackle obesity
- Nestle close to finalising Garoto deal
- Aryzta FY profits fall
- Gen Mills uses NPD, renovation to heat soup sales
- Global Chocolate Confectionery Overview: Challenges, Opportunities and Risks
- The Big 15: Strategies and Priorities of Top Packaged Food Players in Comparison
- Global Foodservice Market 2016-2020
- Constellation Brands, Inc. (STZ) - Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review
- Global Food and Drinks Closures: Performance and Opportunities