Vegetable pickers are being offered the equivalent of £62,000 a year to pick cabbages at farms in Lincolnshire.
An advert for ‘all year round work’ has been posted online by T H Clements and Son Ltd, offering a salary of up to £30-an-hour.
This would work out as £240 for an eight-hour-day or £1,200 for a 40-hour-week. Someone working full time for a year could expect to be paid £62,400.
The role is paid by ‘piecework rates’, anyone that has worked piecework would understand that Piecework is a form of work in which employees are paid not on the basis of working time, but on the basis of their work performance. The amount of the salary is calculated from the number of pieces produced and the agreed wage rate.
Piece work laws in Britain outline the importance of this employment type and the expected pay. All pieceworkers must either receive the national minimum wage or a fair piece rate. Calculate piece work pay by evaluating the average number of pieces or tasks that pieceworkers who are doing that work produce or perform per hour.
The pay boost comes after job site Indeed this week said the number of recruiters that have boosted their salaries to help plug staff shortages is up 75%.
In my own experience working on Hatfield moors peat stacking, that meant you were paid a set rate based on the number of chains you completed, a chain being a length just over 20 meters.
However, it worked out it is a vast improvement on wages for a hard job.
Even so, the large salary demonstrates the scale of the national recruitment in the fruit and veg picking industry, caused by Covid and Brexit.
Farms have previously been reliant on large numbers of Eastern European workers but new immigration rules have made this more difficult.
At the same time there are not enough local workers applying for roles, meaning employers are having to offer more and more incentives.
T H Clements and Son, based in Boston, Lincolnshire, posted two adverts – one looking for cabbage pickers and another for people to harvest broccoli.
One ad read: ‘We are looking for Field Operatives to harvest our Cabbages. Excellent piecework rates with potential to earn up to £30 per hour and all year round work available.’
Robert Newbery, regional director of the National Farmers’ Union, said Brexit is ‘certainly having an impact’ on farms’ ability to recruit workers.
A seasonal agricultural workers scheme, which currently enables 30,000 people to come to the UK for six months to work in agriculture, could be extended to include meat processing plants – according to Government sources.
Former Labour MP Laura Smith tweeted:
Pay decent wages and stop relying on cheap Labour. Those backing exploitation of workers to keep their shelves full are missing the point. This is why it should always have been about what a Labour government could do outside of the EU rather than keep the status quo.
Pay decent wages and stop relying on cheap Labour. Those backing exploitation of workers to keep their shelves full are missing the point. This is why it should always have been about what a Labour government could do outside of the EU rather than keep the status quo. Sigh— Laura Smith (@LauraSmithCrewe) September 24, 2021
The public knows why shelves are empty – drivers’ lousy pay.
A recent poll states over half of voters say pay truck drivers more to ease supermarket food shortages.
Amid mounting concern about shortages of goods in the run-up to the busy Christmas period, an exclusive poll for Unite by Survation issued today (Thursday) finds 56 per cent of the public believe employers should pay lorry drivers more.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This poll seems to show that a considerable section of the public are ahead of the government and the employers on the lorry drivers’ crisis.
“Like Unite, the public recognise that providing decent jobs, on decent pay, for lorry drivers, would attract more workers to the industry. That would be a starter for 10 in beginning to deal with the current crisis. Years of suppressing drivers’ pay and bypassing European regulations have led us to where we are now”.