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The challenges of securing and retaining temporary and permanent staff have increased over the past 12 months and are set to continue given the on-going uncertainty of the UK’s future immigration policy. FPC continues to lobby for a flexible immigration policy which recognises the need for both temporary and permanent staff at all levels across the supply chain.
FPC is a member of the UK Food and Drink Supply Chain Immigration Policy Group which develops joint lobbying activities directly with the Home Office and Defra. We are also involved in the Strategic Workforce & Skills Planning Group which is developing more evidence on long term workforce requirements.
FPC contributed to the report ‘Preparing for a changing workforce: a food and drink supply chain approach to skills’ published by The Food and Drink Sector Council, outlining the industry’s ambition to address food chain productivity issues and the challenges it faces due to a shrinking labour supply.
The report states: “With the expected shortfall in labour and skills availability driven by an ageing population and the end of freedom of movement with the EU, talent will become even more difficult to access in the future. The UK food and drink sector recognises the need to act now to transform its image as an employer and invest in training and skills development for the longer term.”
The report calls for a joint movement to include government collaboration and a high-level set of activities and outcomes to deliver results.
FPC responded to the Migration Advisory Committee’s combined consultation on salary threshold and proposed introduction of a points based immigration system for a future Immigration Policy.
The shortfall in availability and retention of temporary labour continues to be an issue against the backdrop of Brexit and the uncertainty of the UK’s longer term Immigration Policy. We welcomed the announcement that the Conservative Party would look to increase the number of temporary workers permitted to be recruited under the limited pilot Seasonal Workers Scheme, but this is not sufficient to meet the current needs of the supply chain.
FPC is working with others in the UK food and drink sector to lobby Defra and the Home Office on the importance of temporary workers alongside the current UK Government’s expressed intention to focus on developing a skilled workforce.