News Coronavirus Food Alert

Campaign to entice new workers onto UK farms

Farming bodies have launched a #FeedTheNation campaign to get UK based workers onto UK farms at this crucial time. Sustain takes a look, lists the key sites helping to match workers with farmers and calls for decent work and conditions for all food workers.

 ***Update 19 April 2020  - The new government Pick for Britain website is up and running - set up with farm bodies and recruitment agencies -  to connect those seeking seasonal jobs with local farms. Peak jobs from end May through summer until October. Visit it here.*​​​​​**

farm workers credit:pixabay

farm workers credit:pixabay

There is a crisis ahead on farms if workers are not found in the UK this year when the usual seasonal workers can not travel here from Europe and elsewhere. Some growers have even chartered planes to get their experienced workers here. Even if some manage to make it here, there will still be a huge gap in the workforce and a need for more UK based workers from late April onward.  

The #FeedOurNation campaign has been created by the farming and farm recruitment agencies to publicise the issue and share opportunities to put workers in touch with those who need them. 

The following are sites to register your interest. Please take care that you only use reputable agencies. If in doubt, don’t give your details.  

  • The online site of the main seasonal worker agencies is here. They are calling for UK based workers to apply for paid positions on local farms across the UK and are part of the UK’s Alliance of Ethical Labour Providers.  Hops Labour Solutions are a partner in this and have openings for May and June.

  • For the smaller farm and worker sector, Sustain members the Landworkers Alliance with Organic Farmers and Growers and CSA Network have a self-organising worksheet where members can: post jobs; show you are looking for work; match businesses to suppliers; or can provide or need advice.  

  • Farmers Weekly also has a page listing opportunities and recruitment agencies as does Farmers Guardian.  

  • Sites for non-hospitality jobs for displaced hospitality workers are given in this blog  

  • And check out where Sustain members and others post new jobs available in the food system.  

Note - The government announced recently a range of benefit packages for those who find themselves employed due to the COVID-19 outbreak – do read this before applying.   

Keeping workers safe

Sustain is clear that there must be no weakening of farm and food worker protection and statutory rights during this crisis. Unite the union have useful resources covering many aspects of food worker issues. The rights of migrant workers in the food industry is of particular concern.

We will maintain our campaign for a agriculture worker body in England to ensure England based workers have the same oppportunities to negotiate for better wages and conditions, as workers do in Wales, scotland and Northern Ireland.   

News is fast moving during the Corvid-19 crisis so whilst we will aim to keep this information up to date, we cannot be liable for any errors.  

Published Wednesday 1 April 2020

Coronavirus Food Alert: Sustain's work on food resilience in the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.We are helping secure food for vulnerable people and supporting local emergency responses.

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