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Also, I'm pretty sure we've got a pretty good indicator that we already do have control of our borders already. To the point that we're having to bus in Eastern European workers to pick the strawberries we wish to eat over summer, as only 500 of the required 70,000 pickers requested are currently from home soil.
I can't believe we are doing this. One day they say they are going to temporarily release prisoners that are near the end of their sentence, then they are importing fruit pickers.
Why not get the early release prisoners to pick the veg whilst they complete their sentences that were probably already shortened due to good behaviour.

Mick.
 

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I can't believe we are doing this. One day they say they are going to temporarily release prisoners that are near the end of their sentence, then they are importing fruit pickers.
Why not get the early release prisoners to pick the veg whilst they complete their sentences that were probably already shortened due to good behaviour.

Mick.
Because our government haven't got a clue what they're doing.
 

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I can't believe we are doing this. One day they say they are going to temporarily release prisoners that are near the end of their sentence, then they are importing fruit pickers.
Why not get the early release prisoners to pick the veg whilst they complete their sentences that were probably already shortened due to good behaviour.

Mick.
I think the courts would have something to say about that. Remember all the flack Cameron got when he sent people on jobseekers to Poundland? Easier to import some pickers.
 

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I can't believe we are doing this. One day they say they are going to temporarily release prisoners that are near the end of their sentence, then they are importing fruit pickers.
Why not get the early release prisoners to pick the veg whilst they complete their sentences that were probably already shortened due to good behaviour.

Mick.
I heard one of the farmers interviewed on the radio - the one who PAID to fly in 80 pickers from Romania (I think).
He explained that the reason he was paying their flights was because they were returning pickers with a "skillset".
He said he couldn't have all novice pickers as it took time to train them up to speed, and obviously there is a limited time window in which the crop must be harvested.

These seasonal workers come specifically for the harvest and often live in accommodation on the farm so they are on site for a very early start.
I don't think many (read any!) UK 'workers' would be willing to do this for the wages on offer.
It used to be traditional that families from London who couldn't afford a proper holiday would seasonally migrate to hop farms in Kent to help with the harvest and get a few weeks respite from the Smoke in the closest thing they could get to a summer holiday. I'm not sure exactly when this practice ended - probably petered out during the 50s and 60s, but you can't imagine it happening nowadays, can you?

cockney hop pickers
 

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We do a lot of work for various growers in the Chichester area, one in particular grow a lot, huge amounts, of soft fruit. They provide very nicely appointed accommodation for their workers and 'on camp' social events. Its not though the sort of working environment local Brits would warm to. As an aside, when I visit the farms, the Eastern European workers are as helpful, polite and hard working as they can be.
 

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Firstly, I din't mention people on allowances, just prisoners near the end of their sentence,
I wouldn't have thought it's the same thing.
Second, the story I heard was the farmers didn't want the crops to rot in the fields. So unskilled (slow?) pickers would be better than no pickers.
And last, I am sure imported workers would be helpful, polite and hard working. Prisoners might be all three, who knows?
 

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Wouldn't it be great after this COVID19 and the thousands of poor souls we have lost that we would all take a step back and become a more caring society with integrity and humility ?
I fear we will all revert to type.
I couldn't see Brexit far enough.
 

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Firstly, I din't mention people on allowances, just prisoners near the end of their sentence,
I wouldn't have thought it's the same thing.
Second, the story I heard was the farmers didn't want the crops to rot in the fields. So unskilled (slow?) pickers would be better than no pickers.
And last, I am sure imported workers would be helpful, polite and hard working. Prisoners might be all three, who knows?
That's the whole point Mick - if they are too slow the crops will rot in the fields.
Ask yourself why that farmer paid the flights for 80 experienced pickers.
 

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I can't believe we are doing this. One day they say they are going to temporarily release prisoners that are near the end of their sentence, then they are importing fruit pickers.
Why not get the early release prisoners to pick the veg whilst they complete their sentences that were probably already shortened due to good behaviour.

Mick.
Edit pudz mentioned my point in post 14,783
Too many posts


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Too many posts
Post #1 on Feb 8, 2016. I am going to read them all to get educated on people's opinions..... I wonder which thread is the longest/biggest? ... Random thought s while quarantined in the USA....
 

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Be prepared for sparks to fly. If I remember correct. This thread has caused a lot of longtime forum members to take a hike


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I can imagine. Very strong opinions one way or the other, always thinking that the other side is dead wrong....Sounds like many topics in America...
 

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And ten people can occupy the same space as five in the way they pick things from the field?
They don’t get run over or get in each other’s way?
 

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That's the whole point Mick - if they are too slow the crops will rot in the fields.
Ask yourself why that farmer paid the flights for 80 experienced pickers.
Your right Chris, but let's forget brexit for a second, I was really thinking about the virus.
If we bring in people are we not risking either them bringing new cases in to the UK,
or them taking new cases home with them when they have finished?
Mick.
 

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Second, the story I heard was the farmers didn't want the crops to rot in the fields. So unskilled (slow?) pickers would be better than no pickers.
It's not necessarily the case, it depends how much slower inexperienced pickers are. If you're paying people £8.72 an hour, if they pick £8.72 worth of crops in an hour you're no better or worse off than having left them to rot. Well in fact, you're worse off, because you've also had to pay for tools, training, employer's NI, employer's liability insurance etc. What I'm getting at, is there is going to be a target level of crop picked per manhour at which below this level, there is no profit for the farmer. They will need to be making sure they are getting value from the workforce, which is why they are likely bringing in experienced foreigners (with lower wage expectations) than using UK staff. I'm not an expert but I expect there isn't a huge margin in farming, and the difference between profit and loss will probably be down to the pickers. The farmer doesn't grow our food for us out of the kindness of his heart, he does it for a profit. If we keep putting up the minimum wage, but foreigners don't put up the prices of the food they are willing to sell to us, then it is going to be harder and harder for UK farmers to make a living (without devaluing the pound or erecting EU-style tariffs). Retailers have no loyalty to UK growers, they are more than happy to fill the shelves with produce of the quality their customers demand, from wherever they can get it the cheapest.
 

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It's not necessarily the case, it depends how much slower inexperienced pickers are. If you're paying people £8.72 an hour, if they pick £8.72 worth of crops in an hour you're no better or worse off than having left them to rot. Well in fact, you're worse off, because you've also had to pay for tools, training, employer's NI, employer's liability insurance etc. What I'm getting at, is there is going to be a target level of crop picked per manhour at which below this level, there is no profit for the farmer. They will need to be making sure they are getting value from the workforce, which is why they are likely bringing in experienced foreigners (with lower wage expectations) than using UK staff. I'm not an expert but I expect there isn't a huge margin in farming, and the difference between profit and loss will probably be down to the pickers. The farmer doesn't grow our food for us out of the kindness of his heart, he does it for a profit. If we keep putting up the minimum wage, but foreigners don't put up the prices of the food they are willing to sell to us, then it is going to be harder and harder for UK farmers to make a living (without devaluing the pound or erecting EU-style tariffs). Retailers have no loyalty to UK growers, they are more than happy to fill the shelves with produce of the quality their customers demand, from wherever they can get it the cheapest.

Yep, I don't disagree with any of that.
But I was talking about prisoners doing the picking. Would they be payed minimum wage?

Mick.
 

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Yep, I don't disagree with any of that.
But I was talking about prisoners doing the picking. Would they be payed minimum wage?

Mick.
Would probably require a change in the law, and lots of infrastructure added to farms, extra guards to guard the prisoners while they're out and about etc. Its doable, (and I'm guessing here) but I can imagine it ends up costing the state more to have prisoners pick the food than it would cost to buy the food in from Southern Europe or Africa, or give the farmers a subsidy for every British person they employ - especially once we're out of the EU transition period when we don't have to charge tariffs on imported food and the government get as involved or not as it sees fit in farming. If the worry is strategic food security - as in, we want to grow food locally because of the future risk of being cut off from imports, it would be possible for the state to put in bids on the market at a premium over market price to push the market price up, to make it worthwhile for farmers to offer better wages so the farms can fill positions with UK workers, get the food out of the ground and get the increased prices for it. The government would need to buy every bit of food produced at this price, even if they later found no use for it and burned it, ploughed it back into the ground or gave it away. The higher the bid, the more marginal land will be brought into use to grow the food to achieve the high market price for it, so our food growing capacity will increase. The downside to this is dearer food, lower productivity (less food produced per manhour worked) and a cost to taxpayers - subsidies, essentially. How the French like to do things. It keeps farmers producing food even if the food is more expensive than that which can be bought elsewhere. Bringing in seasonal experienced pickers who live on site, are willing to work hard on minimum wage and go home once the work is done is probably the most economic option - if the virus is that big of a concern, fly them into a RAF facility and bus them straight to the farms.

The alternative is for the government not to get involved. In this case, if the farmers can't make a profit growing and picking food, they should consider and we should allow them to do something else with the land. The useful thing to do would be to allow enough of it to be sold off with automatic planning permission granted to bring down land values and destroy all those who have been land-banking and holding land off the market for the purposes of restricting supply of houses.
 
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