Scot­land ‘heav­ily re­liant’ on EU work­ers

Fish Farmer - - Markets & Retail -

THE heavy de­pen­dence of the UK seafood pro­cess­ing in­dus­try on EU work­ers came un­der the spot­light at the Hum­ber Seafood Sum­mit in Grimsby. And it was high­est in the Grampian re­gion of Scot­land.

But ques­tions were also raised about what will hap­pen if many of th­ese work­ers de­cide to re­turn home af­ter Brexit. And one Scot­tish mem­ber of the au­di­ence said this was al­ready hap­pen­ing north of the bor­der and was lead­ing to prob­lems.

Hazel Cur­tis, chief econ­o­mist at Seafish, told the con­fer­ence that ear­lier this year Seafish had car­ried out a de­tailed sur­vey on the make-up of peo­ple work­ing in fish pro­cess­ing.

‘There are a lot of EU work­ers, es­pe­cially from eastern Europe, in this in­dus­try. You only have to go to Scot­land to sea health and safety no­tices writ­ten in Pol­ish and other East Euro­pean lan­guages.’

The re­sults showed that 57 per cent of work­ers were from the UK, with 42 per cent from the EU. The re­main­ing one per cent came from other parts of the world.

But the pro­cess­ing sec­tor also of­fered fairly se­cure work, with 82 per cent on per­ma­nent con­tracts and 14 per cent work­ing for agen­cies.

And there were also some con­trast­ing re­gional dif­fer­ences, with 70 per cent of work­ers in Scot­land from the EU, while on Hum­ber­side (mainly Grimsby) the fig­ure was just 18 per cent - or around 1,000 peo­ple.

Si­mon Dwyer, sec­re­tar­iat to Grimsby Fish Mer­chants’ As­so­ci­a­tion and a key part of clus­ter or­gan­i­sa­tion Seafood Grimsby and Hum­ber, said: ‘We have 5,000 jobs and it is an in­ter­est­ing statis­tic that we could be look­ing for another 1,000 to re­place the 18 per cent we could lose.’

Cur­tis said it was im­por­tant to keep up with the (chang­ing) trends in labour move­ments, and for that rea­son Seafish would now be gather­ing data four times a year.


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.