Fewer migrant workers negatively effect poultry industry

26-08-2008 | |

The £13.7bn poultry meat industry in the UK may destabilise as a result of a decrease in migrant labour.

A new study conducted by Improve reveals that there are approx. 24,000 foreign nationals working in the industry, employed in more than half the meat and poultry companies surveyed. There are now fears, however, that there may be a labour shortage and therefore a loss of productivity in the sector as the number of migrant workers has started to fall.
According to the report, there was a 4% drop in applications from EU accession states nationals to work in the food and drink industry between 2006 and 2007. Applications had soared due to the admission of a number of Eastern European countries to the EU in 2004. However, the climate has changed, with growing economies in other countries making the UK job market less appealing.
In the same period, non-EU nationals’ applications for work in the meat and poultry sector fell by almost 60%.
Chief executive of Improve, Jack Matthews, said companies turned to migrant labour “out of necessity”, due to a lack of workers with specialist skills at home. More than three quarters of meat and poultry companies which employed foreign nationals said migrant labour was positive for their business, with one third of all companies surveyed agreeing a decline in migrant labour would negatively impact productivity.
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