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Prince Charles calls for 'army of people' to help pick crops

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Prince Charles calls for 'army of people' to help pick crops

Old 19th May 2020, 10:30
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Prince Charles calls for 'army of people' to help pick crops

https://www.farminguk.com/news/princ...ops_55682.html


I will be there when I see him and Camilla putting in a 8 hour day 5 days a week picking spuds for the forseeable future... After all they do not exactly have anything else to do.. Until then, I think I will pass, especially as I already have a job.
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Old 19th May 2020, 10:45
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Some unemployed friends would love to be farm hands, but can’t find any takers for their manpower despite living near some of the largest producers in the country. Instead we charter flights full from the east. Something doesn’t seem right here. Do the farmers benefit from supplying board and lodgings in a way a native homeowner wouldn’t fit? ie minimum wage minus board and lodging plus housing benefit?
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Old 19th May 2020, 10:53
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Originally Posted by Dan Dare View Post
Do the farmers benefit from supplying board and lodgings in a way a native homeowner wouldn’t fit? ie minimum wage minus board and lodging plus housing benefit?
Got it in one!
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Old 19th May 2020, 12:48
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At the start of the Covid crisis my daughter registered to be a fruit picker, and like many students back from Uni was happy to be part of it ... but the agency wanted a 3 month commitment...so she volunteered making meals for NHS staff.

If the organisers could set up a roster where students could work a week or two when available, I'm sure they'd get the numbers, but they seemed to make it as difficult as possible to help.


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Old 19th May 2020, 13:28
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Originally Posted by Flyingbadge View Post
At the start of the Covid crisis my daughter registered to be a fruit picker, and like many students back from Uni was happy to be part of it ... but the agency wanted a 3 month commitment...so she volunteered making meals for NHS staff.

If the organisers could set up a roster where students could work a week or two when available, I'm sure they'd get the numbers, but they seemed to make it as difficult as possible to help.
Rather cruel to the farmers to expect to operate a ''will she work, wont she work'' short term routine - I do think a 3 months commitment is fine...
What you are suggesting with working a week or two with all due respect, would be an admin nightmare....
Glad said daughter is doing a grand job elsewhere though...

Most farms IIRC do provide board and lodging -
Many Motorhome owners offered to work to pick as they have self contained accomm, but that seems sadly to have fallen by the wayside.
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Old 19th May 2020, 13:33
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Originally Posted by Dan Dare View Post
Some unemployed friends would love to be farm hands, but can’t find any takers for their manpower despite living near some of the largest producers in the country. Instead we charter flights full from the east. Something doesn’t seem right here. Do the farmers benefit from supplying board and lodgings in a way a native homeowner wouldn’t fit? ie minimum wage minus board and lodging plus housing benefit?
All here, and also speak to your local YFC (young farmers club) https://hopslaboursolutions.com/seasonal-work/
Many farms supply board & lodging...
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Old 19th May 2020, 13:57
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I've worked for 30+ years, and I've always home gardened, a latent farmer really, but now Corona Fired, if I wanted to o farm work in Australia...

How much money would I need to spend on petrol to get to work?, Farmers exploit me like they do backpackers to ake thier ends meet...I am away from my family unit for extended periods of time....this system is not working is it?...simply not enough of the lower people to forge a living, whilst the upper portions of society claim they cannot live without exploitation...something is wrong and broken...
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Old 19th May 2020, 14:26
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The problem in a lot of cases is not gathering in the crops, it is then what to do with it, watch this for some soul destroying.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-...isis-in-europe
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Old 19th May 2020, 14:33
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Originally Posted by rog747 View Post
Rather cruel to the farmers to expect to operate a ''will she work, wont she work'' short term routine - I do think a 3 months commitment is fine...
What you are suggesting with working a week or two with all due respect, would be an admin nightmare....
.
Insisting that they commit to 3 months living on site virtually guarantees no takers. Yet there are 1000's of students who would've been willing to commit to shorter periods. With a tiny bit of admin it could've been the solution to a short term problem

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Old 19th May 2020, 15:27
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Insisting that they commit to 3 months living on site virtually guarantees no takers.
I wonder why that is? In my youth, it was always casual labour, people rocked up, got a job and if the farmer wasn't a complete toe rag and the pay was reasonable and on time, they would stay.
I suspect there's a few elements tied up in this:
1. Board and accommodation will be a tax deductible, for the farmer and a benefits in kind taxable for the picker.
2. The minimum 3 month commitment will be a one way one. If you work too hard and all the fruit is picked in weeks, then off you go.
I suppose I have a bias; I spent the first 2 years of my life in a granite box on a farm, near to my grand parent's house. Accommodation so wonderful that, not only did the family doctor tell my parents "You must get out of there or he will die (me)" but even the newts that ran up and down the condensation laden walls ran away!. Obviously, my Dad didn't do enough of his share of making a "land fit for heroes" and this is what he got!
Hate them!
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Old 19th May 2020, 15:31
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Same here. I cycled to Suffolk with a school friend and spent three weeks bean picking in the late 1960s. Plenty of others used to do much the same. Not sure why a farm would need casual crop picking staff for as long as three months, most stuff is probably harvested in a fair bit less time than that, I'd have thought.
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Old 19th May 2020, 17:23
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There aren’t enough takers in the U.K. The work is backbreaking and low paid.Seasonal workers from the continent have a been around for decades and longer, but now it is becoming more difficult.
We want to pay rock bottom prices for veg.
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Old 19th May 2020, 17:50
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The work is backbreaking and low paid
I must assume from that, that scholars, students and labourers in the decades before this had no back to break and were happy with low pay!.
The government saw this coming before anybody got the Scrabble dictionary out and came up with Covid-19. Beginning 2016, the government have been actively campaigning to send the "foreign Johnnies" back home. Take Control!
And, blow me" Priti Thick was still at it yesterday!
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Old 19th May 2020, 18:59
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The last time I did any agricultural work was in the early 1990s, in Norfolk, UK. The hours were long, the work was tedious and repetitive, the conditions were terrible (probably illegal - no first aid kits, no training on use of machinery, no guards over bladed equipment) and the pay was appalling. I did three days and was so disgusted with the whole experience I didn't bother going back, not even to.pick up the pathetic wages.
I wasn't frightened of a bit of hard, dirty work (!) - I'd really enjoyed working on the bins and the drains only a year or two earlier.
if it's anything like that these days, I can totally understand no-one wanting to do it.
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Old 19th May 2020, 20:15
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I suspect that some make it difficult because they don’t want UK workers who would require at least the minimum wage and be more aware of UK employment and health and safety laws.
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Old 19th May 2020, 20:17
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There are plenty of stories of Brits looking for this type of work but being put off by the various agencies involved, who clearly rather fly in a plane-load of Romanians and earn a large commission. The farmers don't really help the situation either, but then they have a price point to meet in order to supply the supermarkets.

As for the myth of work-shy Brits, there are plenty of takers for farm work in Oz every year.
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Old 19th May 2020, 20:26
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There is also the question of attitude. It is much more pleasant managing people who feel their work is well rewarded.
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Old 19th May 2020, 21:04
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There will be some scam going on. One of my customers runs a food processing plant and they employ almost exclusively workers from Eastern Europe. One of the managers told me that they contracted the employment to a recruitment company (read gangmaster) in the workers home country.

Apparently they paid the foreign company who were then responsible for paying their employee's, this got around some of the elements of our PAYE system.
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Old 19th May 2020, 21:19
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I can see a desire for a 3 month commitment as different crops mature at different times of the season.
Finish one, move on to the next.
Imagine the logistics.
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Old 19th May 2020, 21:23
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If the organisers could set up a roster where students could work a week or two when available, I'm sure they'd get the numbers, but they seemed to make it as difficult as possible to help.
How productive is a newbie in the first couple of weeks? Bit of a training overhead you're building in here...

Not sure why a farm would need casual crop picking staff for as long as three months, most stuff is probably harvested in a fair bit less time than that, I'd have thought.
Nope - the supermarkets want a constant supply, so modern horticulture industry wants as long a harvest period as possible, and spends millions achieving so...
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