January 31, 2023

Filipino Guardian

Sentinels of Filipino Free Press

A British pork producer is paying £4million to hire Filipino butchers

REUTERS

One of Britain’s biggest pork producers has spent £4million ($4.8million) to hire butchers from the Philippines after a staffing crisis threatened to hamper production.

Cranswick Plc, which supplies pork and poultry to supermarkets, is paying 400 butchers to travel from the Asian islands to work in the UK after workers from mainland Europe started streaming home after Brexit.

“It’s absolutely necessary if we’re going to put food on our plates,” said Adam Couch, Cranswick’s chief executive officer. “Obviously it’s very expensive to get them across, but it’s a lot better to get them across than cutting back on production like we did this time last year.”

Mr Couch said it costs between £10,000 and £12,000 to pay each butcher from the Philippines – the equivalent of more than £4million. Every butcher needs a visa, a flight to the UK, an English test and accommodation. Cranswick has an apprenticeship program to train new butchers, but Mr Couch said there were just “not enough people”.

Jayne Arnold of the Food and Drink Federation said the entire industry is suffering from staff shortages “although employers are making significant efforts to persuade workers to offer higher wages and introduce more flexible shifts”.

RECESSION RISK

Earlier this week Tony Danker, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, said Britain needs more foreign workers to escape a likely recession.

The labor shortage has prompted companies to look for new ways to find workers. Halfords Group Plc, the car and cycle retailer, has launched a recruitment campaign to hire 1,000 new technicians – with priority given to the over 50s.

By the time Britain voted to leave the European Union, 65% of Cranswick UK workers were from Central Europe. That number has since fallen. Last year, staff shortages were so severe that Cranswick had 25% fewer staff than needed at its processing plants in areas such as Hull, northern England, and Norfolk, eastern England. – Bloomberg