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“BUT WHO WILL PICK THE FRUIT N VEG?”

By Pete Moore On April 5th, 2020

Remainers continuously warned us that leaving the EU will mean that there will be no-one to pick seasonal harvests. Lately, some have claimed that cheap labour needs to be flown in to avoid disaster. It’s just as well that these siren calls were ignored, because necessity turns out to be the mother of invention. It turns out that we never needed that cheap labour all along, and that we would have done the job ourselves.

Scottish fruit farmers have solved a recruitment crisis which could have resulted in this year’s harvest of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries being destroyed.

Several thousand people, including students and restaurant and bar workers laid off due the coronavirus outbreak, have taken low-paid fruit-picking jobs in Tayside and Fife normally done by seasonal workers from Bulgaria and Romania.

56 Responses to ““BUT WHO WILL PICK THE FRUIT N VEG?””

  1. If only Leavers had warned us about the CV and it’s effect on the economy when they foresaw it.

    Completely irresponsible of them if you ask me.

  2. Putting aside the fact that I’ve always disagreed with exploiting cheap foreign labour to pick British fruit and veg, how does this prove your point?
    If people out of work because of the coronavirus, are now picking the fruit and veg, how would that solve the problem of staff shortages if they were normal and they were employed?
    Your logic in this post makes no sense.

  3. Let’s get this straight. We always had enough labour to do the badly-paid seasonal jobs in agriculture… so long as half the pubs and restaurants go bust first?

    OK, Pete. Whatever you say. Sometimes I’m not sure you’ve got such a great grip on this whole capitalism thing you’re so keen on.

    [for the avoidance of doubt, I am unambiguously a fan of capitalism as the most efficient possible means of generating wealth, and more importantly eradicating poverty. I just think Pete’s take on it is utterly loopy]

  4. Pete is actually proving the point the remainers made that there wasn’t the workforce available to pick produce once EU workers were not available. It has required an economic crisis with thousands of people losing their existing employment to make up the shortfall.

  5. A radical thought.

    Why can’t those army of benefit claimants pick the fruit and veg?

    Still claim benefits, but give something in return.

  6. There aren’t an army of benefit claimants. Pre Covid-19 unemployment was at almost record lows. Yes there were many economically inactive people. But many of them are economically inactive for a reason – and many of those reasons would prevent them being able to pick the fruit and veg.

  7. I know the likes of Anjem Choudry the Muslim hate preacher has suffered a bad back and been claiming Job seekers allowance for the last 25 years. Yet still hasn’t quite managed to find a job

    Let him know in no uncertain terms, stop being a lazy hate filled preacher, and go and pick some fruit and veg.

    At least try and be part or useful to society.

  8. Well you don’t know, because he hasn’t (not least as he was in prison for a few years there – and thus not claiming JSA).

  9. Okay.

    He was only scrounging off the infidels for 21 years so far then.. and counting.

  10. Didn’t Anjem Choudary state it’s the duty of Muslims to claim state handouts?

    A Muslim preacher is secretly filmed urging followers to take benefits from … urging followers to take benefits from the state to fund a holy war. .

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9875954/Muslim-preacher-urges-followers-to-claim-Jihad-Seekers-Allowance.html

  11. Harri, scumbag Choudray biting the hand that feeds won’t change the fact that in normal times it will be difficult to fill these posts as many Britons feel picking fruit is below them.

  12. Paul

    Tough if they feel it’s beneath them..

    It can not be beyond the state to come up with a plan.

    The same goes for low category risk prisoners.

    No sewing mail bags, pick fruit and veg instead. Don’t want to pick fruit and veg instead of being in Pokey, no problems, behave yourself in future.

    For the feckless, and especially for professional scrounging lazy fucks like Anjem Choudary, it’s picking fruit and veg..or nothing.

    Their choice.

    Our gain.

  13. I think in some cases prisoners picking fruit would pose a security risk.

    As to the other point, precisely what I was referring to.

  14. I think in some cases prisoners picking fruit would pose a security risk

    Apologies, I just got the low cat qualification on your comment.

  15. You/we have taught a couple of generations of “ long term unemployed “ that they can get free stuff in exchange for doing nothing

    Incentives matter

    When you incentivize wrong behavior, of course you get it . Here, it is sloth. What did you think you would get?

    I don’t hear too much talk from politicians about this matter.

  16. Well you don’t know, because he hasn’t (not least as he was in prison for a few years there – and thus not claiming JSA).

    The rest of his family were still claiming benefits though.

    Abu Hamza, and Abu Qatada were also life long lazy bastard scroungers.

  17. Phantom, I’ve seen three generations of perpetual unemployment with no serious attempt to get out of it.

  18. Yep

    It can be a very comfortable place to be

  19. Paul McMahon,

    Harri, scumbag Choudray biting the hand that feeds won’t change the fact that in normal times it will be difficult to fill these posts as many Britons feel picking fruit is below them.

    As I proven to you before Paul, that’s only a small minority who believe that fruit and veg picking is beneath them. It’s more to do with the farmers not paying the living wage.

    I’ve just volunteered to pick crops at the local farms around me.

  20. They tried tightening the rules on these things Phantom. It literally killed people. People died because the government tried to do that. You had end stage cancer patients being told they were fit for work.

  21. I picked the fruit and potatoes when I was at school and Uni – as did many others. The rest of the workforce included great numbers of women who took their children with them. The fruit and potatoes were picked before the UK joined the EU by the local people – as it should be

  22. Most farmers can’t afford to pay the living wage. Farming largely wouldn’t exist in the UK if it wasn’t for the fact that it was ludicrously subsidised anyway. In many cases the farmers do not have the margins to pay their workers anymore.

    Some jobs have a maximum that it is economic to pay workers. If you force them to pay more than that then employing people to do it simply doesn’t make economic sense. They would stop doing it.

    So the problem isn’t that farmers don’t pay the living wage. It is that those jobs are worth the living wage.

  23. As I proven to you before Paul, that’s only a small minority who believe that fruit and veg picking is beneath them. It’s more to do with the farmers not paying the living wage.

    I don’t remember that Dave.

    Farmers are legally required to pay minimum wage?

  24. *those jobs aren’t worth the living wage.

  25. The fruit and potatoes were picked before the UK joined the EU by the local people – as it should be

    LOL.
    This is a local crop for local people, there’s nothing for you here.

  26. And the UK was the sickman of Europe before joining the EU. I don’t think the economic policies of the past are the best to go by.

  27. But what’s the reality? There are no official figures for average wage rates, but feedback from the industry suggests the average wage for fruit pickers typically sits at or just above the national living wage (currently £7.50), with opportunities to earn more dependent on hours worked and productivity bonuses.

    Laurence Olins, chairman of British Summer Fruits, puts average pay at between £8.50 and £10.00 depending on speed of work, while Steven Munday, CEO of trade body British Apples & Pears, says in his sector it is on average £300 and £350 a week based on 40 hours worked at £7.50 to £9. “Many can earn more by doing up to 60 hours or piece work. We have a good number earning over £500 per week on a 48-hour week,” he adds. Supervisors also earn more.

    https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/brexit-and-the-workforce/why-are-so-few-brits-prepared-to-pick-fruit/554452.article

  28. Paul McMahon,

    I don’t remember that Dave.

    Farmers are legally required to pay minimum wage?

    No offense mate but I’m not going to have this whole conversation with you again.
    I discussed this with yourself and someone else on here a while back.
    I gave you a link to the BBC programme that proved farmers were not paying the living wage and be exploiting foreign workers. They also had interviews with foreign workers.
    There are many ways to get around the minimum wage, such as zero-hours contracts and quota amounts.

  29. It is worth pointing out that the “National Living Wage” is very different from the national living wage. The “National Living Wage” is de facto the new minimum wage (or at least the minimum wage for under 25s). The living wage however, calculated by the Roundtree Foundation, is the minimum amount a person needs to live on. The “National Living Wage” last year was £8.21. The living wage was £9.30.

  30. I don’t rem it Dave but fair enough.

    The link above states that the hourly rate for fruit pickers sits slightly above the national living wage and explores some of the reasons why Britons generally won’t do it.

  31. *(minimum wage for over 25s)

  32. Seamus, on April 5th, 2020 at 5:26 PM Said:
    Most farmers can’t afford to pay the living wage

    Seamus – you haven’t actually picked fruit, have you? You take your bucket into the field and pick the fruit on your allocated dreel (row). When your bucket is near full, you take it to the weigh-in where the ‘fruit of your labour’ is weighed and you are paid by the pound – probably now by the kilo. That’s it – no ‘living wage’ because you earn your wage and, if it’s not enough, then work harder.

    For picking potatoes, the tractor drove up the dreels (crop-rows) and ploughed-up the potatoes for each picker, over a length paced out by the farmer, to put the potatoes into the baskets for manual loading into large boxes on the field. Adults worked a full-length, known as a ‘bit’: kids usually worked a ‘half-bit’. And so the working ethic was instilled

  33. Seamus, on April 5th, 2020 at 5:26 PM Said:
    Most farmers can’t afford to pay the living wage

    Well that’s bollocks.

    I have lived on, in, and around farms most of my adult life, and I have yet to meet one single farmer who appears to not have more money than Germany.

    They might all plead poverty, but that’s a different thing.

  34. The scenario you describe is open to abuse. It also would almost certainly fail on minimum wage grounds (a person being paid by the hour, rather than by productivity). I also haven’t picked fruit or potatoes. Nor do I have any desire to. It is shit, backbreaking work with terrible pay. Why in the name of the baby Jesus would I want to do it?

  35. Allan.

    My brother and myself used to pick potatoes with our Mother many moons ago.

    Just young boys, it’s a different world now.

    Take Anjem Choudary as just one prime example out of many now claiming benefits, or conning the state out of JSA, for over 20 years, is a lifestyle choice.

    They are not the mugs, we are.

  36. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/sow-the-seeds-now-for-the-future-of-farming-kb0qjrbzh

    Apologies it is behind a paywall – if I can find another source I will.

    Last year the average farm made £2,100 from agriculture and £28,300 from subsidies.

    Firstly, that isn’t a lot of profit, compared to other businesses. In reality if you increase the wages that those farmers have to pay most will either sell up, reduce their operation or require greater state intervention to balance the books.

  37. Last year the average farm made £2,100 from agriculture and £28,300 from subsidies.

    And a £100,000 from shoots.

  38. Agricultur adds about £10bn to the economy every year. And shooting adds about £1bn of it. So I highly doubt that Harri

  39. Seamus

    Doubt away.

    It’s true.

    And mostly tax free.

    Trust me, they make money alright.

    As I said, I live on a farm, I move about within the local farming community, I drink in the local with farmers, never met a skint one yet.

    And never likely to.

    Now if you are talking about Dairy farmers, that’s a different issue.

  40. Seamus.

    Stabling, horse grazing.

    On our farm. 24 stables, all full to capacity, £200 – £300 full livery per animal.

    Work that out.

    All on the books of course.

    Then there are the cattle, and the sheep.

  41. Also.

    You will find a fair few savvy farmers allow ‘metal detecting rallies’ trial biking days, 4×4 meetings, etc during certain times of the year.. all extra cash.

    £2100 profit my hairy arse.

  42. Seamus, on April 5th, 2020 at 5:41 PM Said:
    It is shit, backbreaking work with terrible pay. Why in the name of the baby Jesus would I want to do it?

    Allan@Aberdeen, on April 5th, 2020 at 5:38 PM Said:
    And so the working ethic was instilled

  43. Seamus.

    I will bow down with something’s on your patience on research, and due diligence on topics.

    But not this one.

    If most farmers only make £2100 from agriculture per annum, then just about every farmer I know rather well, or have ever met spend their yearly income from agriculture at the local in a month.

  44. Seamus, on April 5th, 2020 at 5:41 PM Said:
    It is shit, backbreaking work with terrible pay. Why in the name of the baby Jesus would I want to do it?

    Because, if you were on benefits, you should not have the baby Jesus choice.

  45. It was actually enjoyable – sense of camaraderie with other workers, good outdoor environment, and money well-earned for a school-kid and then as a student: I liked it and yes, in a sense, Seamus is right because it was back-breaking work, and wrong because such a rite of passage is absolutely necessary for young people to understand the meaning of hard work and never to deprecate nor belittle those who have no other choice but to do such work.

    And in the winter, I did the Christmas post – students were taken on as temps for the pre-Christmas post-bags. Cold, hard work – absolutely necessary, and the pay was well-appreciated by me and the other students.

  46. “If most farmers only make £2100 from agriculture per annum, then just about every farmer I know rather well, or have ever met spend their yearly income from agriculture at the local in a month.”

    As said they have the bulk of their income from subsidies. So the agriculture income plus their subsidy income would be about £30,000. So about £2,500 a month.

    “Because, if you were on benefits, you should not have the baby Jesus choice.”

    The majority of people on benefits would not be able to do that work. There are 8.5M economically inactive people in the UK. Over two million are students (and thus don’t get benefits). Nearly two million are carers (and so can’t work unless you do something about their caring responsibilities – make childcare, or elderly care etc… more affordable). Over 2 million are sick and/or disabled. Likely, in the majority of cases, they would be unable to do manual labour. And over a million are retired.

  47. I would wager I work harder than many people, not least in the last few weeks. My contract says 35 hours a week. I’d say in the last three weeks that has been closer to 50-60 hours every week. Anything above and beyond the 35 is not remunerated by the way.

    There is no higher value in manual labour. Someone who works hard at their job in a manual labour role is not a harder worker than someone who works hard at their job in a clerical or professional role.

  48. Over 2 million are sick and/or disabled

    Like Anjem Choudary, Abu Hamza, and Abu Qatada.

  49. Well no, considering one is currently in prison in the United States, and another doesn’t live in the UK. And I have no idea if Anjem Choudary is claiming benefits as a sick and/or disabled person, and I would pretty much guess that neither do you.

  50. Allan

    Spot on, I had a morning milk round, chipping spuds at the local chippy, working at a bakery, and working at a local fish market as a skivvy.

    That was from a young boy until I left school.

    Now, baby Jesus, we have an army of bone idle of absolute no use to society in any way, shape or form, “benefits shysters”

  51. And I have no idea if Anjem Choudary is claiming benefits as a sick and/or disabled person, and I would pretty much guess that neither do you.

    Yep.

    He is.. and so is his family.

    Tax Payer to PICK UP THE BILL for Anjem Choudary’s ‘Safe House’ and Benefits After Prison

    https://unitynewsnetwork.co.uk/tax-payer-to-pick-up-the-bill-for-anjem-choudarys-safe-house-and-benefits-after-prison/

    Seamus.

    Strange, normally you are very adept at internet research..is it because Anjem is brown?

    Defend him as much as please, I still believe he is a dole scrounging lazy bastard who has swung the lead for over 20 years.

  52. Seamus.

    Maybe you could complete your usually astute internet research, Wiki or whatever, and tell us what employment Anjem has taken up?

    And when?

  53. Not defending him. Where in your link does it say Choudary is on disability related benefits?

  54. Seamus, on April 5th, 2020 at 6:22 PM Said:
    I would wager I work harder than many people,

    I would wager a bet you work considerably harder that Anjem Choudary, even if you worked for 30 minutes a week.

  55. Seamus, on April 5th, 2020 at 6:38 PM Said:
    Not defending him. Where in your link does it say Choudary is on disability related benefits?

    He can’t work, and has been unable to work for 21 years, due to a bad back.
    Look it up.

    And yes, you are defending him.

    He was secretly filmed in 2013 mocking non-Muslims for working in 9-5 jobs their whole lives, and told followers that some revered Islamic figures had only ever worked one or two days a year.

    “The rest of the year they were busy with jihad [holy war] and things like that,” he said. “People will say, ‘Ah, but you are not working’.

    “But the normal situation is for you to take money from the kuffar [non-believers]. So we take Jihad Seeker’s Allowance. You need to get support.”

    Ridiculing the daily lives of Brit workers, Choudary said: “You find people are busy working the whole of their life. They wake up at 7 o’clock. They go to work at 9 o’clock.

    “They work for eight, nine hours a day. They come home at 7 o’clock, watch EastEnders, sleep, and they do that for 40 years of their life. That is called slavery.”

    Seamus.

    Work harder.

    Anjem and his entire family need your hard earned tax money.

  56. “And yes, you are defending him.”

    I’m not defending him. I pointing out your factual errors, and preventing you from using one bad actor to try and demonise an entire system.

    “He can’t work, and has been unable to work for 21 years, due to a bad back.
    Look it up.”

    How about you do it for me? Show me where it says he is on ESA.