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'Devastating': Crops left to rot in England as Brexit begins to bite. Fruit and vegetables are being left to rot in England as Brexit deters migrants from taking up picking jobs. Farmers have told Euronews that restrictions to freedom of movement have had a "devastating" impact.

'Devastating': Crops left to rot in England as Brexit begins to bite. Fruit and vegetables are being left to rot in England as Brexit deters migrants from taking up picking jobs. Farmers have told Euronews that restrictions to freedom of movement have had a "devastating" impact.

Eveelution07

This wouldn't be an issue if they didn't treat the people they hire like trash. All the places near me are minimum wage, and require you to live on site in a caravan to be able to work for them during the picking season. Not exactly designed towards anyone local


[deleted]

well yeah, they deduct your living costs from that minimum wage too so definitely not aimed at anyone staying here permenantly lol


passingconcierge

There is a very good reason for not wanting to hire local people. It keeps the Employer in control. Similarly, in the Construction Industry and Supermarkets, there is a desire to hire from outside the area. One of the really big reasons: if you hire people from outside the area it is far easier to prevent them from joining a union and demanding highere wages or better conditions. People who have to travel large distances to work are far more vulnerable and that means they are far more compliant when the Employer turns out to have weirdly unrealistic ideas about the world - such as being able to run rented accommodation and a three bedroomed house on minimum wage.


Harrry-Otter

Guess there wasn’t much demand for back breaking, 14hr day agricultural work that pays below minimum wage after all then.


Harmless_Drone

The best part is that farmers were turning down British workers if they were driving to site. The only way they were willing to employ them is if they could recoup 2/3rds of their wages via onsite “”accommodation””


FiftyPencePeace

Which is a either a shithole shared container or a caravan. Then you’ve still got to pay rent/mortgage on your actual home if your UK based.


BladeSmithJerry

Which is why you have to laugh at this story... If you can't afford to pay staff minimum wage then you're not running a functional business and you don't deserve to survive.


352yo

Yeah it’s exactly the same as the other stories about staff shortages for minimum wage roles. “My business is going to fold because we can’t fill any of these positions!” “Have you tried paying them more?” “No”


plinkoplonka

That's because a lot of the business models don't work if you do. Food prices have reduced from 30-40% of average income cost to a family since the 70-80's to about 10% now, but farmers get paid the same for the food as they did back then. As a result these wages aren't sustainable. You can thank supermarkets and their aggressive "bargaining" with farmers for that. This is the price of cheap food, it's not sustainable. If someone is getting as rich somewhere along the line as supermarkets/Amazon, then to balance that, somewhere someone is being exploited. Choose one.


user1342

No, the cheap food will still be available. It just won't come from uk farms anymore


352yo

Yeah it’s pretty shitty. But those businesses deserve to fail if they can’t make it work. If your business model is reliant on tiny wages and you can’t sustain pay rises to meet market demand then it’s time to shut down. It’s brutal but that’s just the reality of capitalism. Survival of the fittest


Nocturnal_Doom

They deserve everything they get.


Existing_Currency257

The real deal-breaker is that it is seasonal work. Even if it paid well, it would need to pay you well enough to support yourself during the out-of-season portions of the year. The reason seasonal works well in Europe is that there is somewhere for you to work at all times in the year - and hence you can have a consistent income.


hamhors

Any idea what seasonal work Eastern Europeans do in their home countries in winter?


FlipBoris

I once asked a tour guide what he does in the winter. "Lay. Lay in bed."


ILoveOldFatHairyMen

Sounds like I've found my career


Lortekonto

I don’t know about Eastern Europeans, but as a scandinavian I did seasonal work in the UK, back in the 90’s. During my summer vacation from the gymnasium I would work for a few weeks. Use the pay to travel the country for a week. Then work another week to pay my ticket home. Did it twice because it was fun and to improve my spoken english.


fuscator

Exactly. When I graduated in the 90s I dated a German girl. We'd socialise with a wider group of "travellers", many of whom did fruit picking for a few weeks to few months at a time. These were all international, many Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, Europeans. Brexiters never once cared about this back then. They only pretend to care about it now because they try to weaponise it against the EU.


bozho

I can't say specifically for fruit pickers, but summer seasonal workers on the Croatian coast (waiters, chefs, etc) usually have regular jobs and seasonal work is supplementary income. After we joined the EU (and a fair number of people emigrated), we actually started importing seasonal workers from other ex-YU states (mostly Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia). Chefs are chefs who simply come over to work during summer. College kids often spend a few weeks working as waiters, cleaners, etc, which is usually not a bad deal: you have accommodation, you're at the seaside and getting paid :-) For most of the locals, letting apartments during summer is also supplementary income. We also know a few restaurant/bar owners. For example, one restaurant owner we know works something like 6-midnight during summer with a small team. He also owns two or three apartments he lets and a small olive grove, which means second half of October and November are spent on picking olives, making the oil, tending to trees before the winter. December and January is when he takes his holidays. Spring means more field work, preparing the restaurant and the apartments for the summer. For him, "seasonal" means that income is seasonal, but there's always something that needs doing :-)


Harmless_Drone

Continue to travel around the EU, for instance, to Spain, and harvest fruit and veg there which is pretty much always in season.


PurpleTeapotOfDoom

I did some raspberry picking in Scotland back in the early 80s, am from Wales. People would arrive from Herefordshire and head off to France afterwards.


jambox888

Every thread on this, the top comment is about how abusive the work is. So thank you for pointing out that it's seasonal work.


Paul277

This. Its awful, hard work for tiny pay (Sometimes less than minimum wage) in which the companies happily abused EU workers for years knowing they could get away with it. About time something was done about it


anotherbozo

So Brexit was done to prevent labour exploitation? I feel like there should be completely different set of actions for that...


PangolinMandolin

And you have to live on site usually too


merryman1

I think most people also don't appreciate with food prices being so low, "renting" these shitty facilities to on-site workers actually makes up a fairly decent chunk of the farmer's take-home. Many of them won't actually be able to get by just on selling crops. It will definitely drive much-needed innovation and labour-saving in British agriculture but again I'm not sure many *current* farmers have the means to do that without support or just selling their property to someone else.


Hammond2789

The outcome will be either the farms will all become part of massive companies that own loads of farms, or close and we important more.


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Top_Excuse1680

Isn’t there a new scheme coming into place? which will be based on growing more woodland and different types of crops? Talked abit about on country file a while back.


Graglin

The Cap in hand.


Hammond2789

Cap?


wr0ng1

Common agricultural policy.


Hammond2789

Ah Ty. Yes.


dtr9

Won't we just import food from whereever the cheap workers are and let rural areas here slide further into economic decline? That definitely seems like the path of least resistance if we just let the supermarkets get on with it exactly the way they pay politicians to rubber-stamp.


RichWeld

Ah but the landed gentry want to be subsidised Compare agriculture to mining or steel work ……farming subsidised beyond belief


Prudent_Society

You've prompted me to wonder if farming subsidies exist purely to stave off a full on political melt-down at the unaffordability of food and by extension, wages under capitalism.


skinnyhulk

Or you know for food security.


Prudent_Society

I don't know why I made it so complicated really, it's just the ruling class throwing money at their land-owning pals. They don't even need to grow food on it, which given that it's only zoned for agriculture makes it hard to see what food security it's providing.


JMacd1987

considering we've outsourced a lot of processed food manufacturing to Eastern Europe and just freight it in, it's not beyond possibility that you could do the same with crops etc. why pay an Eastern European worker a British wage when you can pay him an Eastern European wage, and sure you have expenses to ship in the produce, but it still works out cheaper if youre workforce is getting 33% of the wage. though I don't support this at all, I'd rather we protect our farmers and farm workers by offering high prices for products and regulating the supermarkets


lizardk101

Yeah I don’t like the idea of having to rely on other countries for our food stuffs. I know we currently have to and we import nearly half of our food but having that number increase steadily isn’t good for our future. Especially considering that everyone else is also doing the same. It’s a recipe for disaster should more exogenous shocks come to the system which with climate change and more severe weather is bound to happen.


merryman1

Well yeah that's the most likely outcome I think. But clearly going by a lot of comments here folks don't understand why farmers aren't paying their pickers £30k already.


Shaggy0291

>It will definitely drive much-needed innovation and labour-saving in British agriculture The actual outcome will simply be domestic producers being squeezed out and their market share being snapped up by large scale international competition, most prominently by producers in EU countries like Spain and the Netherlands. If uncompetitive market conditions deterministically generated ever more competitive businesses then Haiti's rice farmers would have become the greatest in the world after the US destroyed the domestic market by flooding it with free grain in the form of aid after the 2011 earthquake. In reality, if you can't compete you're simply driven out of business and the big boys capitalise and get even bigger.


Hypermega2

If that happens the government will put duty on food imports


x3r013

*checks Australia deal* yea I don't think that's the plan


barlowix

And pay for your little shack too!


ter9

I'm not clear if anyone commenting here has direct experience with these workers and this work? I've spoken to student fruit pickers from Eastern Europe a good few years ago and they found it a very hard job but one where they made good money compared with what they could back home. I'd of course support improving pay and conditions, but I'm not sure if anywhere in the world has got rid of the low pay and difficulty of this work - certainly not Spain where most European fruit and veg comes from and where immigrant labour is severely exploited


GAdvance

They're only making a good income because they're migrant seasonal workers going home and taking advantage of he exchange rate. It just doesn't make financial or life sense to go spend a few months a year picking fruoit at effectively below min wage living on a farm if you're a brit.


cultish_alibi

> in which the companies happily abused EU workers for years knowing they could get away with it. That's awful. And there's no kind of agency in the UK that can regulate these things and make sure the workers are being treated well and their rights respected? Or could it maybe be that the UK govt never gave a shit about them so never enforced any of the laws unless people were dying?


Jebus_UK

Free market innit. It's the Tory way.


bobbyjackdotme

What do you think that "something" will be? Are there any options other than a) pay goes up (which looks increasingly like it ain't happening) or b) agricultural industry shrinks significantly


bobroberts30

Some other things. Market led reform, have a look at the history of new Zealand's farming industry after the UK joined the EU. TLDR, the problem broke the country somewhat, eventually forging a world class and largely unsubsidised farming industry. We could have the joy of Amazon diversifying into farming? Government gets lobbied to adjust subsidy rates to compensate. Probably on a 70:20:10 ratio of landowner:farmer:labour. We find some new route to get foreign people to do our farming for us on the cheap. The Guardian makes so much money out of Brexit farming Clickbait articles that they can fund research resulting in cheap vat grown meat.


M1n1f1g

> vat grown meat Meat was never reliant on migrant labour anyway, so this is only a solution if we start eating significantly more meat.


lawrencelucifer

C) Investment in automation D) Move into more profitable crops. For example, now there are barriers up against the Dutch flower industry that so destroyed its English counterpart in the 1970s, and now we have the increased ability to deploy state aid, there's the chance to grow our flowers sector, thus beautifying our countryside and reducing the likelihood of invasive pests.


Allydarvel

C) Need to have a surviving industry to automate D) We are now a free trading island nation that can trade with the whole world! We can import beef from Uruguay, pork from China, lamb from New Zealand and chickens from Thailand. I'm sure they'll want tulips in return


bobbyjackdotme

c) Last I saw that was impossible for certain types of crops, but it's definitely a long-term option. d) Doesn't solve the environmental costs of importing more and more of our food, but I'm not gonna complain about beautifying the countryside!


redem

Often the "impossible for certain types of crops" is skipping the little addendum "because we can do it cheaper using imported labour, so nobody's investing in making these machines".


Slartibartfast87

People all round the world are trying to automate agriculture. UK science and technology isn't really leading the way with food automation.


Hammond2789

The vast majority of farms can't afford it. If there were more profitable crops they would already be growing them.


monkey_monk10

c) farm one of the 90% of crops that don't require human pickers


Hungry_Check_9153

Yes, I remember the campaign bus with "vote brexit to make food more expensive" on the side, it was a cracker.


hug_your_dog

Yay immigrant abuse, Yay immigrants on low wages and back breaking work in bad conditions.


cultish_alibi

If we don't let immigrants into the country then they won't be abused. That's literally the only solution!


katilakoski

Implying we won't just import food from producers where these conditions persist anyway. Which, depending on the food and the source, may still be more expensive than had we self-produced it prior to leaving once import costs are factored in meaning the worst of both worlds.


AlwaysALighthouse

It’s a relief that the government is actually doing something about it. Wouldn’t want to be in a place where they set fire to the problem and leave it to burn.


jeanlucriker

Yep. Should change the title too ‘British people don’t want the jobs’. Almost as if it’s putting blame on migrants. Maybe they should start paying better wages for such a physically demanding job and they may get some employees


RichWeld

Spot on All that exercise , in the open air for a pittance Gang masters are just having the worst time and the amazing insanitary accommodation is not sufficient to minimise covid Wonder why no one wants to do it


wayne2000

Now we just buy from other countries where they pay even less.


newbieatthegym

They want workers that come from abroad so they live on site, so they can deduct living costs from their wages.


Vastaux

Yeah, it boggles the mind that so many people see this as the fault of Brexit rather than the fault of farmers and society allowing conditons to be so poor that only those in really poor countries will accept it .


ponds666

Exactly they take advantage of people simple as that and English workers know better which is why they don't want them.


dalehitchy

If only the farmers were warned.


Yzard27

Forget warned. The exact same thing happened last year. Not only do they lack foresight and logic they also lack the ability to learn from their own mistakes


Roguepope

We should have developed a project of some sort, focussed on informing them of the consequences of their decision.


tocitus

Perhaps Project Forecasting Events And Ramifications We can shorten it to an acronym to make it easier. Project Fe... Ahh shit


hiakuryu

Yes, so... Welp, fuck em.


SteeMonkey

Isn't there a plan within the government to pay them all to retire and we just import everything? If so, it's more fuck us than them.


Silent_Ensemble

That would be the worst idea ever conceived. Absolute curve-ball to this solution: when global pandemics roll on through and supply chains are fucked - farmers at home are worth their weight in gold


AccomplishedClue5381

I remember pointing this potential issue out to a Ukipper several years ago up in Glasgow. Her answer was to make the unemployed do it. Also, to have them live in portacabins on site where they were working. She didn't see the irony of having forced labour camps in the UK


Ixtab19

That was the legit suggestion by Lee Anderson (tory MP) as well, but they'd have to live in tents instead.


AsparagusThese2270

That wasn't even the unemployed. It was "antisocial people", something I don't think he really defined. At least he drew the line at the more bizarre forced-fem/BDSM suggestions of his friend.


peakedtooearly

Anti social people... Like people who protest or ask difficult questions.


SplurgyA

Wait... That's just gulags, isn't it? So much for the tolerant ~~left~~ right. The horseshoe is real.


ArchdukeToes

I find that antisocial people are the best at doing difficult, menial work for (let's be honest) pretty shite pay - especially if they don't really want to do it.


IcarusSupreme

Wasn't that the guy boycotting all the England games?


bbbbbbbbbblah

He also went out with a Daily Mail film crew and wore their microphone while he stepped away to phone a friend for rig up a chance doorstep encounter. Amusingly the Mail kept it all in Big brain stuff


Ixtab19

yep.


IcarusSupreme

I'm sure he has lots of other well thought out ideas as well lol


Grayson_Poise

A tent!? Loooxury! In my day...


merryman1

Always makes me laugh so many people seem to think the Tory government of the last decade is going to be the one to revolutionize working rights and pay in this country in favour of workers. We'll see them having the DWP marching folks into the fields to earn their right to eat before we see Tories seriously backing labour interests in the UK.


throwaway24562457245

We all know that they want to take us back to Edwardian times. Workhouses are back, baby!


RosemaryFocaccia

If they could find a successful way to market workhouses to the masses they would definitely reintroduce them. There is no low they wouldn't sink to.


throwaway24562457245

"Work for your unemployment" Workhouses without the overhead of the housing


RosemaryFocaccia

"Work will set you free!"


throwaway24562457245

"Through crematorium number three." --- Which rhymes both in German *and* English.


bobbyjackdotme

Presumably, her argument for leaving the EU *wasn't* — as is often claimed the case — that EU workers were deflating wages. I wonder what kind of reasoning that leaves...


SnooWalruses4865

I don't know, similar thing is happening in Hungary, usually the country where labour for this sort of thing would be coming from. They are now importing Ukranians to do the fruit picking on seasonal visas. Source: was just there, some fruit prices doubled in a year.


Jacobw_

"No one wants to work ridiculous hours, doing really hard work, for less than minimum wage... This is devastating!!!" If your business relies of the mistreating of your employees, you don't deserve to be in business.


cranky-old-gamer

Food is going to have to get a little bit more expensive so that the pickers wages are more attractive. It was exploitative.


dimensions1210

At which point it will become cheaper to import it from other countries. There is no easy answer to this. If you push up UK agricultural wages, you make our products less competitive vs other countries so exports drop and supermarkets go elsewhere. You could in theory use tariffs and quotas to protect against this, but we agreed a tariff and quota free deal with the EU which is where substitution would probably come from. I personally could support higher good prices and subsidising farms to produce it in a more sustainable way but 1. That's hard to do within WTO rules 2. Would probably breach the TCA provisions on state aid 3. Would be a hard to handle for low income workers unless we also increase universal credit and the minimum wage


Ewannnn

Why should we subsidise farms rather than helping actually less fortunate people in the UK? I can think of loads more worthy causes than subsidising agriculture.


aventrics

It's generally seen as beneficial for a country to be able to supply itself when it comes to key products like food. Obviously Britain hasn't been self-sufficient for a long time in this regard, and it was one of the biggest threats to us in WWII. Many argue that we shouldn't allow self-sufficiency to decline any further (there's arguments to be made for and against this belief, but I'm not personally well versed in the specifics).


azazelcrowley

Depends frankly. We either have to import food from our new trade partners in asia and australia and so on through the suez, or we have to lower standards and import from the USA. Importing through the suez is basically, well, you know. Strategically bad. While we can in fact probably kick any nations ass in the region if they dare to do something like if the Saudi's or Egyptians or Somalis up and decided "You don't get food unless you do what we want" this "Security" disappears the moment another major power decides to back them up on it as happened in the Suez crisis before, and Suez crisis 2 electric boogaloo wouldn't be much different in that regard or might even snowball if we get cocky about it. (Think; Saudi arabia says no food for the UK unless we do some dumb inhumane bullshit. We wave our dick at them and send out the fleet. Russia says "No, fuck Britain, if you attack the Saud's we'll back them up.". This would usually cause us to back down. But then the US comes in and says "If you attack the UK, we'll back THEM up" and now you've got WW3.). Europe would presumably take a dim view of a nation trying to fuck us over like that using the Suez and might bail us out if relations have normalized by then, but... realistically if we want food security we either need those relations to normalize to the point where we can rely on Europe being like "Okay we're going to dump a shitload of food in the UK until this crisis resolves" or we need to lower food standards so we can take US food, or we need access to the European food market again. Otherwise it's *ridiculously* strategically vulnerable. It's not an issue until someone makes it an issue, but it is an issue.


hiakuryu

The UK hasn't been food self sufficient since the 1830's soooooo


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throwaway24562457245

Amusingly, Scotland is. And power. And water.


ynohoo

I think the land area to population ratio may have something to do with that.


Looskis

So what?


MuellersGame

Don’t tell the English, it makes them feel invade-y


dimensions1210

Hence why I said "no easy answers". For example, if we don't subsidise the farms and increased costs makes them uncompetitive, some of them will probably go out of business. This reduces food security (which doesn't worry me, but might worry some people) and will also clearly piss off the farming lobby. If we decide to subsidise farming and work out a way to do this without being in violation of our treaties it will annoy people who left the EU so as to remove farming subsidies (given the CAP was one of the things brought up a lot) If we decide to provide more visas for seasonal workers from the EU it will annoy the people who wanted to reduce immigration in lower skilled jobs. What we are seeing here is that the majority of changes to trading barriers have complex second order effects and changes to the status quo should be done slowly and with a significant amount of impact analysis and mitigation before those changes are implemented


Veridas

I think that depends on the country, and on precisely what you'd be importing.


Zeal_Iskander

Ehhh… Yes, if you push the UK agricultural wages, products are less competitive. Exports drops somewhat… but the UK doesn’t actually export all that much fruits and vegetables, all things considered. And iirc our main destination is the EU, which isn’t going to be keen on replacing the UK even if prices go up (the main considerations here are adherence to food norms and spatial proximity). > “which is where substitution would probably come from” 1) the difference in price would be very low 2) transportation costs are non-neglible I’m fairly sure an augmentation of pickers wages would not yield any drastic changes for the UK (at least for its imports). It might end up exporting a bit less though for non-EU countries though, but they’re like… 10-20% of its exports? Eh…


GBrunt

Not as exploitative as supermarkets are of farming. The prices in shops bear almost no relationship to what farmers get paid for product. If towns still had marketplaces, perhaps more money would have ended up in farmers pockets to pay better salaries.


bobbyjackdotme

The trouble with that is, food is the one thing that everyone needs, so making that more expensive counteracts at least some of the effect of increasing wages. Unless you force the poor to eat crap food that doesn't go up in price, of course.


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cranky-old-gamer

OK I'm struggling to understand your thinking here Are you telling me that exploitatively low wages are a necessary part of the solution to poverty? I don't get it. Seems to me that eliminating that sort of exploitation must necessarily be a part of any proper solution to poverty.


peakedtooearly

British crops. Rotting in British fields. 100% sovereign.


Fenton296

And they will be happier for it.


Silent_Ensemble

Never been more proud in my life 🥲


madminer95

~~"Crops left to rot in England as Brexit begins to bite."~~ "Farmers would rather let crops rot than pay humane wages and not force workers to live in a portacabin" FIFY


BestFriendWatermelon

Last year I looked into doing the Pick For Britain thing, but got told that if I didn't agree to live in portacabins on site that they could garnish "rent" from my wages for, that farmers weren't interested. I won't call farmers greedy, but it's time they *pulled themselves up by their bootstraps* after Brexit and change their business model in response. Shouldn't be growing strawberries if you can't find the Labour at the price you want to pick them.


bobbyjackdotme

~~"Farmers would rather let crops rot than pay humane wages and not force workers to live in a portacabin"~~ Supermarkets would rather import food than sell homegrown stuff, if it works out cheaper, regardless of how damaging it is to the local economy and the global environment. (FTFY)


monkey_monk10

Nah, supermarkets are pretty big on British grown this and that.


GBrunt

Supermarkets are the reason that food inflation isn't a thing and why British people pay far less for British food than they should. It's been a race to the bottom for decades.


merryman1

Aye people already forgetting it wasn't that long ago we had farmers just handing out milk in the supermarkets for free because prices they were being offered wouldn't even cover their production costs.


bobbyjackdotme

Nah, they're bigger on profits.


CheesyLala

The only thing supermarkets are always big on is price. So if the labour costs of British farmers have just gone through the roof, you can guess how that's going to play out.


monkeybawz

you mean *British Grown**


throwaway24562457245

[Supply-demand curve applies to employee wages](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwsQD33rsfk) In other news, water is wet.


Shivadxb

Do you expect them to make a loss on their business to support the low prices consumers pay? That’s literally what you’ve just said you expect them to do. Pay a fair wage out of their own pocket because the price they get paid won’t change


eerst

Make no mistake. This was by design. In a few short years there will be a new temporary foreign worker program created, like Canada's or Australia's, to allow poorly paid migrant EU workers in to pick our fruit and veg. The difference is now they won't have the right to stay, to health care, to school for their children. This is not a bug or a failure. This was the objective.


eamurphy23

You get what you vote for. I do not.


AnomalyNexus

>Sainsbury's and Tescos will turn to EU imports to fill the gaps. oh hey...there is that trade boost! Wrong direction but close enough for government work I suppose


SplurgyA

You're not wrong, but if you're referring to fallow subsidies there are benefits. Encouraging people to let fields run fallow improves the soil, reduces fertiliser/pesticide contamination and provides a safe haven for biodiversity. It can be used to funnel money to landowners but there are some good reasons for encouraging it.


ketodietclub

Maybe if they didn't have such stupid demands for their workers like sleeping on site in crappy caravans, people would be more likely to do their temp jobs. A lot of people looked into it last year, and the consensus was wtf?


highlandhound

I am confused. I thought we had armies of Brexiteers ready to take up these jobs due to their dislike of Europeans? Where are they all?


Mick_86

If only there was some way this situation could have been avoided.


iamezekiel1_14

I believe Farmers on the whole voted for it (as did the 52%). If that's the case zero sympathy.


bdiebucnshqke

I’m English but live in California and the fruit and veg here is 3x the price at least There’s a reason it’s so cheap in England, and I’d expect it’s because the workforce for the last 20 years has been comprised of exploited poles and Hungarians. Pay more and pass it on to the consumer or let the industry die — or provide more subsidies (ha) — I wonder what the other options are?


[deleted]

Oh noes, I feel so sorry for the farmers, after all they never voted for brexit did they. Oh wait a sec. Fuck em. another group happy for the "sacrifice" to be on other people who now want sympathy and support when they realise its going to fall on them.


voyagerdoge

merely collateral damage for brexiteers though


danowat

I'm not really sure what we're supposed to say about this now, yes it's a problem, yes it was known about, what more can the public add to the discussion?, The problem is firmly at the door of the growers, they need to find a way out of it.


GBrunt

Or Brexiters need to dig deep and pay for a radical shift in the economy. Will they? Can they? I know I can't. I've been pay-capped for a decade, even with two promotions.


VagueSomething

There's 3 options to tackle this. The best option would be to get machines and tech that can do this job with as few people operating as possible, unfortunately this involves companies designing such machines and farmers being able to afford them. The next option is for the UK to make a deal with another location to abuse their desperate workers and the Tories to continue to not do their promise of controlling immigration. The third option is for the Tories to continue to undermine the UK until British people are forced to take these jobs. A shortcut to this would be the Tories forcing the unemployed or criminals to go in camps to work the fields as at least 1 MP has suggested.


thescouselander

This slave labour racket has come to an end and the market will need to adjust.


08148692

The market will adjust. I'm more concerned about the people barely scraping by as it is needing to adjust to the more expensive market


grympy

Oh no, this is brand new information. Who could have predicted this madness…


Shivadxb

I see there’s the usual awareness levels of uk farming and super market purchasing in here. Always a pleasure to see


yurri

The funny thing is that 'just pay workers more!' won't solve the problem. Agriculture is very hard work, but it's also simple in a sense that every country in the world does that and will happily sell you their produce. That makes it really difficult to be in that business in rich countries unless you impose prohibitive tariffs and make your population subsidise your farmers by paying more. If UK farmers start paying higher wages they'll simply be wiped out by imports, and rightfully so. And remember that even competing with other rich European countries is now difficult because they still have access to cheap seasonal labour thanks to the free movement in the block. With service jobs, the wages would and indeed are going up a bit. You can't wait tables remotely, but importing foreign produce is much easier. Another option would be for the government to raise tariffs - which they can't because of pre-existing FTAs and that move in general being against their long-promoted agenda. Plus, it will result in noticeably higher prices at the shops, we are not talking '1 extra p'. There is, of course, the third option - make life in the UK bad enough for people to agree doing this job for low wages. The government is actively working on that though, credit where it's due.


Blag24

Presuming we all agree that having as much domestic food production as possible is a good thing, if wages are the issue for seasonal work couldn’t we create some sort of government scheme were if you work for x weeks you get a bonus (paid by the government) on top of your wages.


RosemaryFocaccia

Most people just don't want the insecurity of seasonal work. They want a regular job that pays the rent/bills and allows them to spend some time/money with their friends. If you travel around the UK picking fruit and veg for several months of the year, you would still have to pay rent for a home you weren't living in (as well as paying the farmer for on-site accommodation). Or you would have to put your belongings in storage and find a new place to live every year for the non-growing season, which you would also have to find a job for.


Blag24

When I was thinking of the bonus scheme I was thinking it would be primarily aimed at students 16+, do 3/4 weeks & get a bonus on top of your wage. I think the farmers would have to take the hit on the accommodation to be part of the scheme.


RosemaryFocaccia

It might be an incentive for some people, but farmers do need a reliable source of labour. I can imagine that the reality of 12-hour manual work days will result in some teens leaving, especially as they will still be living with their parents and won't actually *need* the money, in most cases. If a farmer finds his workforce disappearing half-way through picking, what is he to do?


Pauln512

We didn't need to leave the EU to raise wages and working standards. In fact it would have been easier to remain and use the vast amounts of money and hassle saved to do exactly that. We just needed to stop electing short sighted Thatcherite governments and elect one with socially progressive policies. Whoops.


Surur

See, if we fixed the wages without Brexit, even more dirty fornirs would come here to work. /s


Electrical-Ad-1438

Those poor poor wealthy farmers now realising they can no longer get away with taking advantage of desperate workers from the EU willing to accept below minimum wage for backbreaking work. Looks like it finally dawned on them that Brits aren't mugs willing to do terrible jobs for shitty pay.


Jebus_UK

Who could have seen this coming.....oh yeah. Everyone.


RtHonMember4Reddit

'Plantation owners rage as slave labour no longer available'


RosemaryFocaccia

Those "slaves" choose to do itinerant labour for a few years so they can save up enough to buy a house back in their home country. Meanwhile, owning a house is a fantasy for most young people in the UK who are working around the clock just to stay afloat.


GBrunt

It is the supermarkets who drove down food prices for decades. Farmers just tried to stay afloat. That situation hasn't changed.


RtHonMember4Reddit

\>Farmers just tried to stay afloat Personally I'd rather sink.


aventrics

Many of them have, they tend to then get bough up by the bigger conglomerates.


PrimeMinisterMay

Entirely fixable situation if farms bothered to pay a decent wage and didn’t force you to live in a rotting old caravan with six other people.


Southpaw535

Assuming that would bring British workers onto farms, which I doubt it would, you then hit two possibilities. 1. Supermarkets tell them to sod off and import from elsewhere. Farmers lose their business, workers lose their jobs anyway 2. People pay more for food to offset that, at a time when we already have a lot of issues with food poverty. I'm not saying its not fixable or that its an inherently bad thing the practice has to change, but nonchalantly stating that its as simple as giving people more money isn't helping anyone by being needlessly and unrealistic simplistic about the solution.


nemma88

I thought the idea was control immigration, which includes attracting more when it was required? Does this sort of thing not count as required? Farming is already a heavily subsidized industry.


BaxterParp

No, the idea was always to restrict immigration. The right have been moaning about it for years.


Fatuous_Sunbeams

The concept of "controlled" immigration - "Australian points style" blah blah - seemed to take it as given that skilled labour is more "required" than unskilled.


alexblueuk

Australia get backpackers to work on their farms - incentivised by a year visa extension (so technically still a form of short term immigration)


dafyddtomas

Shocker, innit.


ArchdukeToes

I'm not sure why they would - if there's migrant work available elsewhere in the EU, the pay would have to be much greater in the UK to be worth the increased hassle of coming over here. And people can say 'sure, pay them more', and that's not *wrong -* but I'm not sure how to square the circle of 'Brexit is good because we should as self-sufficient as possible!' with 'Fuck 'em; if they can't afford to pay them more then they should go to the wall'.


Graglin

Why should we care if businesses requiring slave labour cant survive slavery being made illegal?


ArchdukeToes

I'm not saying that we should. However, that then comes at the cost of being *more* reliant on exports as food being grown in the UK ceases to be sustainable. How do you maintain the British farming sector and stop it from being overrun by cheaper foreign imports (which other countries will want as part of forming a good trade deal with the UK) and simultaneously raise the wages of those who work within it? Farming was a keystone point for Brexiters, like fishing. In light of the fishermen's complaints that they've been sold up the river by the Tories, I'm curious to see how much they actually care about the farming sector as well.


himit

Would perhaps managing the supermarket sector work better? Impose punitive taxes on sales of foreign-grown produce at the checkout of stores over a certain size/revenue; don't tax British-grown produce. Small places can still sell imported stuff for cheap so you could possibly get away with it.


ArchdukeToes

I’m not sure how you’d do that without the foreign countries you’re trying to deal with getting really sodding pissy over it - but at the same time there needs to be better controls over prices that supermarkets buy at.


BrotherGildas

Lots of finger-pointing in this thread but I don't think it's useful to say the fault lies with the British working class, or with the farmers or with the supermarkets. It seems fairly evident to me that this situation is a result of the supremacy of Capital. For example: Make farmers pay more and increase prices? Capital dictates the supermarkets look elsewhere. Force supermarkets to buy the pricier British produce? Capital dictates that the extra cost is passed to the customer. Govt subsidises British farm industry? Additional spending requires extra fiscal policy nonsense. We are all simultaneously victims of and propagators of the demands of capital. Of course, some people come out better than others but I suspect that if you spoke to anyone who makes any decisions about how to spend their money they would say something along the lines of "I don't really have much of choice but to do X". For me, the real root of the issue is this: there is little political will to challenge this situation AND I don't even believe that we, in this country, have the tools to seriously challenge or subvert the will of capital.


XabisMission

And yet at the time of the referendum, it was like every field had huge vote leave signs. Morons


gazpacho_arabe

Invest in machinery using grants that are still available then Unless the EU endlessly expanded into the Middle-East/Africa this was always going to happen as Eastern European countries get richer relatively we've just brought it forward


aventrics

That's true, but it's easier to adapt to more gradual changes. Brexit is quite sudden despite how drawn out the legal process has been. I think that's why we're seeing these sorts of issues.


_Madison_

>Brexit is quite sudden It's not at this point. Farms have had half a decade to sort their shit out and mechanise.


Constanthobby

And yet betting money they won't switch party


Alexi---

Didn't see this one coming.


Dagz420

reap what you sow, quite literally


back-in-black

They list *one farm* near Bognor Regis, and it’s not even clear its a farm, and the crop is specifically Courgettes. It’s true that availability of cheap labour has fostered a dependency upon there being cheap labour. However, this doesn’t mean the only way you can farm is with cheap labour. I wonder if courgettes can only be picked by hand, or if there are more automated approaches that require a bit of investment.


BoringHusband

Only have themselves to blame.


Griffolion

Do rotting crops smell like sovereignty? Also, farmers are greedy fucks and need to pay more. Then you'll solve this issue.


Thrillho_VanHouten

I'm not surprised this story isn't making headlines on the BBC. It sounds like a huge story but to report it would be to admit that it's us Brits causing the problem by refusing to pay the minimum wage to migrants and refusing to employ our own citizens - and voting for Brexit to begin with. Maybe the population will start to wise up to this when their supermarket shop is more expensive than they are accustomed to.


sinnersense

My friend applied and they just never responded to him. He's sure it's because he has an "English name".


PunchedLasagne87

I live 15 minutes away from a really big farm. One of the first to appear on the news last year saying how badly they were affected and its all going to rot. I usually work in events, so was absolutely fucked in early lockdown, so I applied to this farm (and several others). I was happy with minimum wage, am used to work outdoors in all conditions, doing manual work. The big farm got back to me 3 weeks later and told me they had filled their positions. None of the other farms bothered to get back to me.


albadil

When I was in the same position it was the same. These people are not acting in good faith. They want to employ people at below minimum wage and even then it seems they prefer non locals.


Podgietaru

We should probably join the EEA, that'd be nice.


Lactodorum4

It sucks short term but its the kick up the arse needed by the agriculture sector to increase automation. We've fallen behind European countries because we relied on cheap, Eastern European Labour to do all the work.


cartesian5th

Wait, I was told this wouldn't happen and it was all "Project Fear". Weird.......


1964ajwilson

Only upsides 😂


leepox

They voted for this. They're reaping the fruits of that vote. What's there to complain