Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Government wants more foreign butchers in to stop pig slaughter

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Boris Johnson’s government wants to allow more foreign butchers to work in the UK on temporary visas to prevent the mass killing of pigs.

An announcement of visa requirements to address an acute shortage of butchers that is causing a crisis in the pig industry is “imminent,” said an environment minister.

Tory Minister Lord Benyon told the House of Lords that the steps envisaged by the government would help “fill” the industry’s labor shortage.

Zoe Davies, executive director of the National Pig Association (NPA), said The independent one She was “hopeful” that the government would relax the language regime to allow hundreds of skilled butchers to come to the UK quickly.

She warned, “We need people in a short time – we don’t have months at the end. The point is to remove the residue from pigs from the farms. As long as they help people no longer have to kill animals on farms. “

It has been warned that up to 150,000 pigs could be destroyed as the lack of trained butchers and meat processors has left a large backlog of animals ready for slaughter.

Industry bosses have said they face a drastic and immediate shortage of around 1,000 butchers, with workers soon to be needed to avoid the mass killing.

“We hope something comes out today or tomorrow, and we hope it will be good. We’ll have to wait and see, ”said Ms. Davies.

She added, “It’s not about wages because skilled butchers have passed the £ 25,000 threshold. We hope that the requirements for the level of English and the bureaucratic effort required for these visas will be relaxed. “

Farmers, meat processors and recently appointed tsar of the government supply chain Sir Dave Lewis held talks on Monday to resolve the crisis.

The NPA said industry leaders had requested government aid through a program known as Private Storage Aid (PSA) – which provides funding for the storage of slaughtered pigs in private cold stores – but said it knew the government would agree.

Challenged by Labor over the government’s plans, Tory frontbencher Lord Benyon pledged measures to fill gaps in the workforce.

Regarding the work problems in the industry, the peer said, “I was hoping to come into the house with an announcement – it is imminent.”

Promising ministers and officials have worked hard to “get this industry back on its feet,” he added: “There is a deficit of 800 to 1,000 butchers that we want to fill.”

“This is mainly because after the end of the Covid restrictions, many of the foreign workers have returned home and we are looking for ways to bring back a large number of them.”

The Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was asked for an opinion.

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