Charter flights to bring in agricultural workers from eastern Europe are needed as a matter of urgency, otherwise fruit and vegetables will be left unpicked in Britain’s fields. Some large farms have already been chartering planes to bring in labour from eastern Europe. British growers have been contacting companies in the hospitality sector to recruit laid-off staff.
90,000 workers are needed, many in just a few weeks’ time. One leading supplier, Concordia, was looking to bring in around 10,000 labourers – half from the EU and the rest from Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and Barbados. But all of the non-EU countries are closed. In a big setback, Ukraine extended its lockdown from 2 April until 23 April.Stephanie Maurel, Concordia’s chief executive, said: “Our recruitment outside the EU is stalled which leaves us with Lithuania, which has closed borders, Romania with no airplanes, and Bulgaria which is our little beacon.”
Nick Marston, the chairman of British Summer Fruits, said. “They may be people from eastern Europe who were working here in the hospitality sector, who are relatively young and don’t have that many ties and want a job paying reasonable pay in reasonable conditions.”https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/28/fruit-and-veg-will-run-out-unless-britain-charters-planes-to-fly-in-farm-workers-from-eastern-europe