Great Britain will provide Six-month emergency visas for 800 foreign butchers to prevent mass slaughter of pigsAfter farmers complained of an exodus of slaughterhouse workers and meat processors, leaving the sector struggling to survive.
The combination of Brexit and Covid-19 led to a mass exodus of workers from Eastern Europe, leaving About 120,000 pigs are in barns and fields across the country waiting to be slaughteredAccording to the National Pig Association.
Environment Minister George Eustice said the temporary visas would solve a problem that farmers say puts livelihoods at risk and causes animal welfare problems.
“What we’re going to do is allow butchers in slaughterhouses and meat handlers who handle pigs to temporarily enter the seasonal worker scheme for up to six months,” Eustice told reporters.
“This will help us deal with the backlog of pigs we currently have on farms to give meat manufacturers the ability to slaughter more pigs.”
Eustis said about 800 butchers would be needed to remove the backlog and announced special storage assistance to help slaughterhouses store meat.
But he said that The government has decided not to lower the English language requirements for eligible visas To allow more butchers to go this route – an important demand from farmers, who have been calling for ministers for weeks to take action.
“The industry has asked us to look at language requirements in the skills track,” he said. “We’ve looked into this, but we don’t think it provides an answer to your specific challenge.”
The shortage of butchers is just one of several areas in which Britain is facing a serious labor shortage.
Last month, it announced plans to issue temporary visas to 5,000 foreign truck drivers and 5,500 poultry workers, but the government wants companies to invest in British manpower rather than relying on cheap foreign labour.
Ministers also sought to reduce suggestions that Brexit was the main problem that affected workers in supply chains.
Eustis said many workers in the pig industry have gone home during the pandemic and simply haven’t.
“It’s a complicated picture: There were many outages in the market, problems getting into the Chinese market, maybe some overproduction – here production increased by about 7% – and yes, labor was an aggravating factor, but it wasn’t the only one,” Eustis said. “.
“The pig industry, as with many parts of the food industry, has experienced a loss of staff because many EU nationals (European Union) that has relied on the left during the pandemic – has nothing to do with Brexit.”
As part of measures to address the shortage of truck drivers, he said navigation rules for EU drivers would be relaxed so that they could make as many trips as they wanted in a two-week period.