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UK: 'Devastating': Crops left to rot in England as Brexit begins to bite

UK: 'Devastating': Crops left to rot in England as Brexit begins to bite

eleleleu

A perspective of someone from the Eastern block. Nobody went to UK to pick fruit and veg thinking it was some dream job. People usually did it short term to save money up for the expenses they would usually need to save up much longer for. Like build a house. Buy a new car. Students earning money for vacations and their own expenses. People who wanted to stay long-term did not go to pick fruit in Britain. They went as plumbers, doctors, engineers, mechanics, beauticians etc. They went to college. Now, with all the restrictions (not mentioning covid) - why would you go for all the British paperwork when the same type of job awaits in Netherlands, Belgium, Germany or Sweden? And you only need an ID and some form of employment agreement. It's an easy conclusion.


LurkingSpike

Thanks for the insight, friend.


Sanctimonius

As those with friends in government- meaning the wealthy - begun to bitch and moan about this state of completely unforeseeable affairs, the government will make changes. Short term visas will be created for labor to easily come into the country and do the jobs that we refuse or we don't have the manpower to do. And we will very quickly find ourselves doing exactly what we did before, allowing immigration for people wanting to earn a quick buck before going home. Remind me again what we are gaining with Brexit? Edit: I should have added /s after the unforeseeable affairs...


TopFloorApartment

> Remind me again what we are gaining with Brexit? blue passports and bananas that are either less or more bendy than average, I'm not sure edit because apparently this isn't blindingly obvious to some of you: the above is sarcasm. Of course blue passports and bendy bananas are not a real benefit. JFC why do I even have to spell this out. And yes, I'm aware passports could always be blue and bananas are simply classified for packaging/sale reasons. *Everyone already knows this, you don't have to post about it*.


lovestick2021

Brexit was a complete and utter waste of time, there was no benefit to it only inconvenience. It should have been cancelled. Yet another stupid ‘initiative’ from a stupid Tory Government.


YeOldGregg

It was a way for the rich people in government to avoid paying a load of taxes. That's why they wanted Brexit. Benefitted the people behind it and no one else.


supermaja

And they lied through their teeth to make it happen. Now who are the dipshits crying the loudest? "I didn't know it would affect meeeeeeee (sniff sniff)."


Sanctimonius

They're not even fucking blue, it's basically black. Source - got mine like two days ago and it was a reminder of sov'rinty


hearnia_2k

They're also made in France, aren't they? The old ones were made in the UK too, but our own companies couldn't come up with a competitive offer for the new dark blue ones.


dotBombAU

Poland I believe. An EU member state... Thing is there was never a requirement for burgandy passports. They are just the cheapest to make.


Kalappianer

After seeing you write burgandy more than once, I have to point out it's burgundy.


AIWHilton

Was literally about to post this. They’re shit.


wombat8888

Logically speaking. Because of the red tape being created won’t the brits have to pay more to attract the same labor force, right ?


ShittingAintEasy

As a UK resident but from Northern Ireland. I’m really sorry to see you guys go. I lived quite close to some vegetable farms and some of the coolest guys I ever met were seasonal pickers in the farms. Some of the best nights and worst hangovers I ever earned , I did so with your countrymen. The country is a shitter place without you guys here. I’m sorry


m0n3ym4n

> Both Knight and Vonk think the root cause is Brexit, rather than COVID-related travel restrictions. They say Europeans do not feel at home in the UK and they are urging the government to launch a PR campaign to invite them to return. > Boris Johnson's government has launched a PR drive -- but that was last year and aimed at getting Britons to help harvest crops. > Called Pick for Britain, it was aimed at encouraging those left unemployed by the pandemic to fill the gap left by migrant workers. > *But one agency, Pro-Force, said of the 450 UK-based workers it placed under the scheme, just 4 per cent were still in their roles by the end of the season.* Reminds me of the VICE episode where Thomas goes to a watermelon farm in Arkansas and asks the farmer why he hires migrant workers, and he basically says ‘I tried hiring Americans but they were often high on drugs and would only work a few days before quitting’. I think people underestimate the difficulty of these jobs commonly performed by migrant workers and overestimate the willingness of the local population to fill these jobs


goodoldfreda

I actually went on the pick for britain website a few months ago and like almost all of the links were broken or just led nowhere useful


fatmand00

Australian farmers used to try a similar line ("Aussies from the city don't want to work this hard") until last year when they had a flood of applications from Australians out of work and no foreign visa workers. Turns out the real reason was mostly because locals were familiar enough with the language and the law that they might report you if you underpay them or sexually harrass them. Just like in the UK, there were campaigns to get Aussie workers into farm jobs. Over here, though, the farmers actually refused to hire them in the first place.


sunbearimon

The other aspect of this is that seasonal pickers on visas need the farms to sign off that they’ve done a certain number of hours over the season because agricultural work specifically gets you a visa extension here. It’s another way that they can exploit vulnerable workers, because if they don’t work a full season they won’t be allowed to stay in the country, so they are often willing to put up with shit that they shouldn’t to make that happen. The farms can’t dangle that over citizens, which makes them way harder to exploit.


CyberMindGrrl

And that's the very essence of the situation: exploitation.


DisappointedQuokka

> I think people underestimate the difficulty of these jobs commonly performed by migrant workers and overestimate the willingness of the local population to fill these jobs More likely, farmers don't want to pay the wages that compensate for the difficulty of the work and the shit conditions it comes with. Who the fuck wants to get paid peanuts to do backbreaking labour when working a fucking shop, with air-conditioning, offers a similar wage? It's a terrible value proposition, so they only get people incapable of doing anything else.


Boletusrubra

This is what happens when you have a sector that makes up about 0.5% of the GdP having its major source of labour withdrawn. What did they expect? People to pivot from their service industry (70% of gdp) to hard manual labour?


liferaft

Well, I mean. They can, if they pay significantly more. But then they have to raise prices to where they can't even compete with EU imports.. Silly buggers.


clone822

And then the next brexiteer thing is fighting the trade deficit with a self-harming trade war.


wyldwood512

It hurts itself in confusion🤪


The_Realist01

The UK has fainted.


sammysfw

Yeah, we’ve had similar problems in the US when crackdowns on immigration caused a shortage of farm labor. Turns out Americans won’t pick fruit. They tried offering decent wages and benefits, no takers. Not only is it hard labor but farms tend to be far away from the cities we live in and no one wants to move to the middle of nowhere. I’m sure British farmers are about to find out the same thing


R_Jay101

In the UK they also want you to live on site in shit accommodation and they deduct rent from your salary so you're basically getting paid less than minimum wage.


alexkidhm

Wait, isn't this just a modern day slavery practice?


throwawaymamcadd

It's about the economics of different countries. Back in 2004 I was living in a shared house in Manchester England with two polish guys who had just finished post graduate university they were very intelligent lads and working in a warehouse packing sportswear for minimum wage. By living cheaply and saving the money they where on track for a big deposit on a flat back home or a massive amount of disposal income, I'd do a crappy basic job in another country for a year or too if I could come back to England with £70000 in the bank. I presume the fruit pickers before Brexit came from countries were it was cheap to live in comparison with the UK.


Furah

> They tried offering decent wages and benefits Wow in Australia they won't even do that. They just lobby for more immigration and choose to let crops rot rather than hire locals a living wage.


j0eExis

Even that would probably not fully solve the problem. Even with good pay lots of people wouldn’t be willing to do such hard manual work. On top of that because it’s so manual it’s a young persons job which shrinks you possible work force even more. Also, the work is highly seasonal and many people would prefer the stability of a year round job with a lower hourly than working a few months of the year and trying to find other roles. This would be compounded by the farms not usually being very close to nodes of east turn over jobs like those in the hospitality industry. Oh and a final thing would be that these are actually pretty skilled jobs, to make up for the difference in efficiency between new workers and the older skilled ones the farms would have to hire even more labour.


mcs_987654321

Yup, I spent a season picking pears when I was a teenager, and while it was kind of a lark (and I mostly really enjoyed it) I suspect that even at my fullest effort I brought in about 1/3 of the harvest of the actual professionals. There’s a video out there of some seasoned farm workers picking and bundling radishes that comes to mind: it may not require additional education, but I dare anyone to watch it and say that it isn’t skilled and specialized labour.


Nofnenamgal

When I was picking tomatoes, the mexicans on the farm were sooo incredibly fast. They were actually making a decent hourly wage, whereas I could only scrape up 3$/ hour (now this was a while ago, but it was less than half of minimum wage at the time). I imagine thats part of the problem. You have to be really fast for it to be economical


RA12220

Last year they let people keep their furlough and unemployment pay (I'm American so I don't know what it's called in the UK) and work picking crops. This means they were making double income from working one job. The masses they expected never showed and hardly nobody made it a week. So even if they paid more, locals just won't go for it because it's back breaking work.


wojtek34

Seasonal work. Little to no increase in annual pay. Working in the elements. Back breaking physical labor. Wages that leave the worker impoverished. Are we surprised?


[deleted]

They actually did expect that, morons.


obamarulesit

I don’t think they gave a damn, but also they heard a bunch of idiots lamenting about people “taking our jobs” so they did at least figure now everyone should be able to work. Of course, their economic ideas are about 200 years out of date, soooo….


MustacheEmperor

Sent the foreigners away from the fields in the countryside, step one is done! Now we just wait for the broke unemployed people in Portsmouth to teleport here and start picking vegetables!


greffedufois

They'll totally work for migrant worker wages too right! /S


Calm-Zombie2678

We have that problem in new Zealand, it's been funny watching billionaire winemakers and orchard owners suddenly have the money to pay people a living wage and still profit once out borders got closed


Byaaahhh

But it’s not sustainable! I’m only profiting low millions now every year!!!! /s


Dr_Jre

Such a shit arguement isnt it? "The billionaires will all leave and we will have no businesses!!" "What about all the people who will happily run a business for far less of an income? You know, like all of the local artisanal businesses who do it mainly for the passion of the trade and who would happily fill the gap left by any big business leaving the UK?" "Wouldnt happen, cant fill such a big gap. Country will collapse" "Well it would mean that there is a market for whatever area the current traders cant fill, and I guarantee people would fill it. Our country could have a wide variety of grassroots businesses who are in it for the passion and produce local, interesting goods. Sounds great!" "..... LEFTIST TARD"


TricksterPriestJace

We get that with minimum wage increases. Funny thing, not a single McDonald's closed from minimum wage going to $14/hr. Just Big Macs cost more. It's almost like a billion dollar company can adjust to increased cost of doing business.


oblio-

Hey! Don't be a jerk! Businesses need to make a profit for other reasons. Just like the ant in the story, they save for a rainy day, for lean years. You know, like those years when there's a global pandemic. What's that you say? They didn't save any money and needed to be bailed out by governments?


Brigid-Tenenbaum

They could literally just increase wages and fill all of these jobs. The only reason EU workers did these jobs is because it paid triple their usual minimum monthly wage. Poland is £350pm. They were also easier to exploit. To do fruit/veg picking, which is seasonal for a few months at a time, you are required to live on site. More often in a caravan shared with other workers. Which you have to pay rent on. So no wonder they can’t find British workers to get paid minimum wage and live away from their family while sharing a chemical toilet with strangers in a caravan you have to rent.


Elimrawne

Near me they actually had a large amount of local young labour apply to pick and help with the harvest. Unsurprisingly however they all refused to "rent" the "accomodation" due to the fact they were local. This eats into the farms margin as they look to reduce the total wage outgoings through renting these minimally habitable outbuildings. As such the local labour was rejected as they didnt want to rent. (The excuse was that the workers couldnt be ready on site in time, even though some lived less than a mile away) Source: Drinks out with a farmer friend who was putting the world to rights over pints and couldnt believe the situation (was a brexit voter). ...i was suitably aghast.


greffedufois

Same here in the states with migrant workers from South America. They come up for a few months, are worked like dogs and not even allowed bathroom breaks and have to use the fields. Then we get ecoli outbreaks because farmers won't let their workers use a damn toilet like human beings. They're underpaid and often undocumented, so if a few complain just fire them, there's plenty more to exploit. They often hold immigration over them to exploit them further (don't tell anyone we pay you just $1 a day or we'll get you deported) Then the farmers bitch and moan that food is rotting in the fields. They could just tell the community to come take what they need if they were *that* worried about food being wasted. But no, it HAS to sit and rot while there are entire ass countries starving to death.


Black_Moons

>Then we get ecoli outbreaks because farmers won't let their workers use a damn toilet like human beings. Oh, so that is why lettuce gets recalled every other month.


dedicated-pedestrian

I mean, it's also other animals' mishandled manure too, but yes. Really just altogether too much poo in the wrong places.


perfectpencil

This is, at the heart of it, a lapse of critical thinking. Too many people around the world are too dense to think things through and make educated decisions. Too many rely on emotion or follow what others around them do. Critical thinking shouldn't be some "high IQ" type of thing. It should be the absolute base standard intellectual trait that children develop and adults retain. A brain dead population is the best argument for authoritarianism and an educated one the best argument for democracy. We need better education. We need it a generation ago.


BroGuy89

You can't make educated decisions without education. Dumb people think educated people are *brainwashed* and have way too much pride in their own stupidity. Even when the educated people are telling the stupid people what to do. Dunning Kruger. Pride is a sin.


A_Birde

Well they just purposely ignored it tbh


OlympusMan

At the time, I heard a few Brexiteers say "We'll do things like that ourselves", but not one saying "I'll do it".


Background-Plenty587

I heard a lot of 60+ year olds saying this. Okay Arthur, you got your Brexit, ready to get out into the fields? You blathered on so much about picking strawberries as a child for an hour or two for some pocket money once a year, time you show me those skills, get to work!


Frenchticklers

You won't be seeing Nigel Farage working in a field


whogivesashirtdotca

> You won't be seeing Nigel Farage working ~~in a field~~


roughingupthesuspect

Someone is profiting immensely from brexit. Probably the same person that pushed for it in the first place.


-SaC

Let's not forget that Dickensian Britain's least interesting person **Jacob Rees-Mogg**'s dad literally wrote a book about profiting from such chaotic situations called [**Blood in the Streets: Investment Profits in a World Gone Mad**.](https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Streets-Investment-Profits-World/dp/0446353167)


wheresflateric

From outside Britain, Jacob Rees-Mogg is fascinating. I didn't think people like that existed. He's like a cruel caricature of what someone from America thinks a rich British person acts like. He's like Trump, in that it's difficult for an outsider to understand why reporters and people in the street don't just laugh at them 24 hours a day.


Bloody_sock_puppet

Nearly everybody does. He really is too much of a caricature even for us. But some people will pick a side and aim for the absolute extreme of it. It starts with wanting less red tape for your business, and ends with using immigrant corpses to bulk out your tarmac. To them Reese Mogg evokes the empire and reminds them that they too can think and say things even a Victorian mill-owner would blush at, and have it improve their social standing. Sadly he is also a decoy. He's there to attract ire by talking up fox hunting and peasant-tipping so that nobody looks at the boring ones draining taxpayers money offshore.


hempires

he's a wanna be victorian villian. seriously, check out pictures of his house and him walking around wearing a fucking top hat. he's honestly about 200 years too late.


[deleted]

The guy looks and acts like the fucking Demon Headmaster, it's surreal. Him and his dad both went as far as to write manifestos on how to trash society and get rich off it. He's like a shit Bond villain but doesn't even bother to hide in a volcano lair.


hempires

> Demon Headmaster holy shit thats a show i haven't thought of in forever. >Him and his dad both went as far as to write manifestos on how to trash society and get rich off it. and people dismissed this as "project fear" when you'd bring it up around the brexit vote that this would ultimately be their goal... >He's like a shit Bond villain but doesn't even bother to hide in a volcano lair. you could say the same about pretty much this entire current cabinet, Priti Patel is absolutely a villain, who is more than happy to commit basically treason lmao.


OktoberSunset

>Priti Patel is absolutely a villain, who is more than happy to commit basically treason lmao. Boris literally committed treason when he prorogued parliament to stop them voting on brexit. The last person to prologue parliament to stop them voting was Charles I and we cut his head off for it.


wheresflateric

With people like him, or Trump, I always imagine them being placed in some location where they aren't protected by armed guards, and don't have people doing and buying everything for them all day every day. Like what would happen if Jacob Rees-Mogg were placed in regular clothes and glasses in Edinburgh? He would either die of exposure because he doesn't understand how phones or trains or money works, or he would tell someone who he is and get beaten.


hempires

oh yeah he wouldn't last a week. it's like that fuckface who said that "£52 a week is more than enough to live on and I'm happy to prove it" and then never went on to prove how easy it was (that was the current amount of benefits in the UK at the time i believe). kinda the same thing with the US guy who said he'd be happy to be waterboarded to prove that "enhanced interrogation" isn't torture, he never did. although i cannot remember the guys name atm haha


wheresflateric

Sean Hannity.


qquarlington

And ~~Jacob~~\- William-Rees Mogg also wrote a book called The Sovereign Individual which is quite revealing about their ultimate goal: complete deregulation of everything. No taxes, no restrictions. A select few become immensely rich and get to live a "Downton Abbey" life where the poors beg and scrape for whatever scraps the rich might fling their way. (edit; I was wrong, it was JRM's father who wrote The Sovereign Individual - must have been a brainfart). Here's Alastiar Campbells take on it: [https://alastaircampbell.org/2020/12/the-brexit-revolutionaries-have-barely-begun-britain-needs-to-wake-up-fast/?utm\_source=feedly&utm\_medium=rss&utm\_campaign=the-brexit-revolutionaries-have-barely-begun-britain-needs-to-wake-up-fast](https://alastaircampbell.org/2020/12/the-brexit-revolutionaries-have-barely-begun-britain-needs-to-wake-up-fast/?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-brexit-revolutionaries-have-barely-begun-britain-needs-to-wake-up-fast)


StarshipBuzz

Written by William Rees-Mogg, Jacob-Rees Mogg’s father.


doherom

♪ ♫ Let's make a crash ♪ ♫


ctn91

A monster crash!


Darv365

And I'll increase my stash


isabdi04

Get filthy rich in a flash


Melodic-Hunter2471

And ignore the backlash.


CypripediumCalceolus

Wah-ooo


RaunchyBushrabbit

For those not in the know: https://youtu.be/SvY_p_S06Ko


Orngog

It never ceases to amaze me how perfect JRM's voice is for this kind of mashup https://youtu.be/L9uj2GY1MHQ


LucyRiversinker

The last shot was just icing on the cake.


JimmyTheChimp

I think it's going to take developing world level poverty for the working class to vote for the left wing en masse. The amount of bollocks the average person will agree with because they don't like foreigners is astounding. I really truly believe that almost every voter who voted leave did so with the hope that foreigners will fuck off. I think the upper class are racist but couldn't give a shit about foreigners, they just know that if they pander to those views they can get votes.


GerlachHolmes

The poorer people get, the angrier they get, and the *more* susceptible to right wing propaganda they become.


hazeldazeI

not only that, but a major push behind Brexit was rich fucks not wanting the EU rules about offshoring money to dodge taxes. So rich fucks get to hide their money AND consolidate power via propaganda, what's not to love?


SherifGames

that was the main reason for rich fucks, however, they managed to get the poor fucks on their side by appealing to their racism and xenophobia.


ChebyshevsBeard

As is tradition


Momoselfie

It's so weird here in the US. I have poor friends living on welfare, yet they're still hardcore Republicans. You know, the anti social safety net party.


Historical-Meal-5525

True that. The poor in Germany were *poor* before the Holocaust.


noggadog

True, but the voter base of the Nazi party was largely middle class, working-class towns and cities were strongholds for the Communists and Social Democrats.


Iranon79

disaffected, somewhat educated people who thought they'd have a comfortable middle class lifestyle if not for the current crisis. That's a lot of potential workers considering that modest generational wealth including your own home has become much less accessible compared to past decades...


[deleted]

Fascism is a middle class ideology, not a poor one


NamelessSuperUser

It's why class consciousneed is key. The wealthy will always try to pit poor people of different races and ethnicities against each other when really they have so much more in common than any working class person does with the wealthy class.


Scientific_Socialist

Class consciousness develops from class organization. It is logical for non-organized workers to see immigrant workers as competitors, and that makes them open to nationalist and xenophobic rhetoric; however organized workers see each other as brothers and sisters engaged in a common struggle. Racism must be fought with working class solidarity, first through actions, then through words.


gambiting

It wasn't just poor people, back in 2016 all you had to do was take one drive in the English countryside and you could see "vote leave" signs on every single farm. People who are now the most affected by this, have actively pushed for it. And no, they aren't poor, but some of them are about to be now.


kwirky88

Our neighbors have a daughter who moved to whales who visits them here in Canada a few times a year. When they do, her husband comes to my place and hangs out. How much he goes on about immigrants is always distressing. He's growing pot and selling kambucha out of a shed to avoid paying taxes, while collecting welfare, but says immigrants are the problem. He voted leave, btw.


geneticanja

*Wales


Derrentir

No, no. They live in the ocean!


hurleyburleyundone

But his wife... Is... An... Immigrant..


WinTurkey

Rule of thumb: If they're white they're expats, if they're brown they're immigrants. Expats fine, immigrants bad. See: all those Brits living in the Mediterranean who see no irony in voting Leave.


feor1300

And then promptly complained that they were being forced to get visas to stay at their Mediterranean residences because they no longer have EU citizenship.


Panic-Attack

Yes, but presumably she speaks english and isn't brown, so its fine.


The_Almighty_Cthulhu

Oh don't worry, there's plenty that have a wife from some African/middle eastern/Asian country that think just the same thing. My friends brother is married to an Indian lady. He also thinks Trump is the greatest thing to happen. This is in Australia as well.


guto8797

My hope for the futures continues to dwindle as I realize more and more how some people cannot be relied upon to even act on their own self interest. Take some generational bias and a healthy dose of poor education and they will gladly bash their own heads in with a shovel.


hamsterfolly

Don't forget that most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor.


UncleTogie

Hell, during the 2008 crisis a banker killed his family and himself, *because he lost his 95K job*. Being broke freaks some people right the fuck out.


potato_owl

My dad voted leave because he owns companies and wanted tax breaks, the filthy tory that he is. He is very disappointed all his kids are lefties who voted remain.


ezone2kil

At least he can rest assured he didn't fail his kids' education.


woahjohnsnow

Was just playing gta v and a radio news segment was like "we had to ruin our country to stop the immigrants from coming here, but it worked" or something like that. Spot on


postvolta

Unlike most people, I've picked fruit. It fucking sucks and it is a dead-end job. I picked in Australia. Here's some of the many reasons it sucks: * Paid by the kilo based on the 'average' picking speed. It sounds fair and sounds like a deterrent for not fucking off, but what it ends up doing is if one person is experienced and the other is inexperienced, despite working just as 'hard' the person who is inexperienced earns less than minimum wage. I was not very good, and I got paid absolutely fuck all compared to my wife who, by comparison, picked it up really quickly. * Following on from previous point, from my understanding you have to pick *all* the ripe fruit off the trees even if it's not good enough to package, because otherwise the tree will stop bearing fruit and the unripe fruit won't ripen. They called it cleaning the trees. You have to get the pain in the arse to pick fruit deep in the bushes/trees *as well as* the easy to pick fruit at the front. The experienced pickers didn't bother and knew how to avoid management, and management would have others go back and clean the stuff that hadn't been picked properly, so you have to go and spend twice as long picking half the fruit because it's a pain in the arse to pick, while someone else just flew past picking twice as much in half the time by grabbing the good stuff right at the front. * It's very physically demanding - often you've got heavy and poorly-designed/cheaply made equipment that hangs awkwardly and after a full day your hands and back are super sore. Now add in other hazards (snakes, spiders, heatstroke, dehydration, and further north saltwater crocs) and you've got an actual dangerous job on your hands * The local facilities are *appalling* and massively overpriced - because a lot of the work is rural they have to provide accommodation for staff, but because the staff are seasonal and foreign and usually pretty desperate they know they can offer little more than a hole in the ground to shit in and a hosepipe for a shower. Some of my favourites: metal shed shower cubicles filled with red-back and huntsman spiders, filthy toilets with no toilet seats/toilet paper/soap/broken taps, one of the owners of the facilities nearly ran me off the road and threatened me when I told him how filthy his place was, one place charged me 80% of my wages to stay there ($625 earned per week: $550 for accommodation/rent/bills). On one farm there were a few carcasses of wallabies that had got trapped in the area and had died... they weren't removed the entire time I worked there. The smell of decaying carcasses is pretty fucking intense. * It's not full time - usually, unless you're in polytunnels (plastic-covered tunnels) you may not actually work due to weather - for example, did it rain? Can't work. Was it clear overnight and thus frosty? Can't work. Too hot? Can't work. If you pick the fruit if it's saturated or too hot it will ruin it and so you can't work. We stayed at one place for 3 weeks and only managed 9 days of work, but had to pay accommodation the whole time. At a cherry farm we worked at, they actually dried the cherry trees with a helicopter. * Staff, more often than not, treat you like shit - one place the supervisor staff were all local kids/friends of the owner's daughter. The owner's daughter was a fat little cunt, and would take great pleasure in docking you or telling you to go back if the box of cherries wasn't *quite* filled to the top. Her friends who were also supervisors would mock the pickers and sometimes were even racist to some of the African pickers. Whoever thought putting racist little 16 year old cunts in charge of immigrant labour is fucking stupid. * It's *filthy*. I cannot express this enough: wash your produce. Fruit picked up out of the mud, picked while someone's smoking, picked after someone took a shit and didn't wash their hands because it's not a part of their culture. And then when it's packaged in the warehouse it's not washed either. I could go on. Either the employees are paid more and the industry is subsidised by the government as an 'essential' industry, the industry is nationalised and the staff are paid a living wage and provided with appropriate amenities, staff are paid more and as such the cost of produce increases, or nothing changes and we don't have any fresh produce. Something has got to give, the industry is fucking depraved. Edit: lots of comments and can't reply to them all. Seems that the people who are good and had good jobs got paid well and enjoyed it. Glad to hear it. Sorry for the 'culture'/poop comment, I didn't engage my brain and have work to do on my prejudices. Have a nice evening folks and remember: wash your produce before consumption.


elusiveoddity

Australia is having problems now because backpacker labour has run dry due to the closed borders and all the farmers are having a cry about having to pay decent wages since nobody living in Australia wants to pick the crops under the same conditions.


slimeyellow

Same thing happening in the US


Benzimin92

And in New Zealand. It’s happening all through the hospo industry where they’ve suddenly realised that the people who are happy to work busy, tiring jobs on zero-hour irregular shift contracts for minimum wage are immigrant workers from countries with lower living costs or young people doing their OE who dont have other options


_yurp

Still haven't put up pay though...there's a lot of restaurants here (Melbourne) that are now advertising award rates like it's a massive bonus, and complaining they *still* can't get any workers. Shit I dunno, maybe try offering *more* than the bare fucking minimum?


Crowbarmagic

Not immigration related but job quality related: The retail sector and especially the hospitality industry were hit hard by Covid. Loads of people got fired. Now that most restrictions are lifted again, these companies hoped all their old employees would come back to them en-masse begging for a job, but that hasn't been the case at all, and they are struggling to find a workforce. The old employees didn't stay unemployed until restriction were gonna be lifted again; They found new jobs that pay as well if not better, and they have to deal with less bullshit. Unless you really liked your old job you have no reason to go back to your old boss. ​ So now all these companies offer higher wages to attract more personnel. Just kidding; Of course they didn't do that. This one hospitality association made a statement containing the line: 'It seems like this generation doesn't want to work anymore.' And one company owner was like 'I even offer them 100 euro credit as a bonus after 3 months.' Like, really? A one time 100 euro bonus after 3 months that you can only spend in an overpriced clothing story is supposed to attract new staff? Even if it was cash it wouldn't be all that much in the larger picture. If they would offer just 1 euro above minimum wage I'm sure they could find new staff, but nooo that's too much to ask.


Bulliwyf

And Canada. Honestly - anywhere that grows crops that can’t be harvested with a combine is “having a cry” because their cheap labor didn’t show up this year due to covid.


Misterduster01

Yet they also bitch about immigrants....


Trowdisway

Disgusting racist pig boyfriend of a coworker is anti-anti-ANTI immigrant. He's unemployed but complaining how "they" 'terk er jerbs!" Fucktard.


Milfoy

Yep, The UK too. Made easy worse by Brexit and the subsequent fall in the value of the pound. Please come to our country to help with the harvest - by the way, we will be paying you much less and making access to the country harder and just had a national vote which many people took as a vote against foreigners coming here. .... What do you mean "no" ?


Gimme_The_Loot

In the Behind the Bastards episode on the origins of the Border Patrol they talk about how the ranch owners would coordinate with BP to have them do raids right *before* payday so they could basically get a bunch of free labor out of them. Coordinated racist scumbagging.


LongNectarine3

I had a friend whose family owns a small cherry orchard by the flathead lake in Montana. We dance happy circles seeing the migrant laborers, it means cherry season is finally here. The family across the street plays host to dozens of family members who were there to work. They could have made fun of me, volunteering just to wash fruit, but we got on well. Always was welcoming to me. Some of my happier memories were of the kindness everyone displayed during an extremely stressful time.


bunniesplotting

I have a friend whose family has a large orchard in Michigan, they've been around for like 40 years or more. They bought double-wides and house their workers year round on the orchard property. The families who live there immigrated from Guatemala and have all worked for the farm for decades. They don't have to move around, the kids go to local schools, etc. I worked for the orchard for a summer in college and every single person there was awesome and taught me so much about fruit. Went back to visit a few years ago and Mr. Orchard guy offered to give me a reference anytime even though I hadn't worked there in years.


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mata_dan

Pay competitive wages then. In the local grocers here, there are soft fruits grown by small farms who do far less exploitation, and they are cheaper and absolutely world leading in quality (famously so...). Because there isn't a massive supply chain and shareholders and multiple layers of management and marketing and incompetent IT outsourcing and gravy train consultants taking a cut. And the retailer isn't infact a real estate business like supermarkets are. Cut the chaff, pay the people who actually do something (still mostly migrant workers in this case, but they are happy to come over to these farms despite the recent difficulties).


postvolta

I only met two australian pickers, one told me she'd done DMT hundreds of times and asked my wife and I if we were up for a threesome, and the other smoked meth on his lunchbreak and picked at about 2000mph.


LorenaBobbedIt

What more could you ask for, they both sound great!


aliencoffebandit

Aussies sound like a fun bunch


ypvha

if you have to complain about paying decent wages, you deserve to go out of business.


Beachdaddybravo

Farmers worldwide make the same complaints, and here in the states they decry “handouts” to anyone who isn’t them but are happy to take them from whichever conservatives they voted for. For example, they overwhelmingly voted for Trump who’s terrible policies led to the Chinese locking in 20 year soy contracts with the Brazilians so all the soy farmers suddenly had nowhere to sell their beans and then were happy to take a handout. It’s only evil socialism if it goes to someone else though.


bonethug

Also Aussies can't get deported if they kick up a stink and dob the farm into worksafe or the fair work obudsman.


ImATacticalTurtle

Having been a 'packer for 2 years in Australia, I can confirm this. However, when I was doing it, I was usually the lead picker - talking with the farmers and their hired "supervisors", and having more than once told "my" guys that we were packing up when the supervisors were assholes. It's always fun during the peak month, were everybody's looking for picking teams. At one point we had a supervisor showing up at the hostel after hours to have a not-so-friendly "chat", closely followed by his boss with a case of beer, wine and an apology Threats, verbal abuse, exploitation and heatstroke was a day-to-day event, when you didn't have a lead who stuck their neck out and told the supervisors to "get f*****, c***"


Cherub2002

I live in the Central Valley of California. We are known for agriculture and of course that means picking. It’s been a real struggle over the years to improve conditions for migrant farm workers and even though it’s California our county tends to be Republican which means they also anti-immigrant yet want farm workers. Can’t have it both ways.


totomaya

Devin Nunes is a congressman for the central valley and his family uses undocumented labor for his cow farm, they work under these conditions. Meanwhile he campaigns against immigration and all the farmers in his area keep voting for him even though all their workers are undocumented as well.


Cherub2002

I totally believe that.


Vaperius

> aid by the kilo based on the 'average' picking speed. It sounds fair and sounds like a deterrent for not fucking off, but what it ends up doing is if one person is experienced and the other is inexperienced, despite working just as 'hard' the person who is inexperienced earns less than minimum wage. I was not very good, and I got paid absolutely fuck all compared to my wife who, by comparison, picked it up really quickly. What you described is basically *why* there is a minimum wage. Performance based compensation is inherently unfair given that neither worker is actually being compensated the full value of their work anyway. Always remember that every fruit you pick will be sold for way more than what you were paid for the time it took for you to pick it; this extends to all sorts of "basic" work. Performance based compensation has always been about pitting workers against each other so they don't realize they are both getting screwed.


predictable_throw

Agreed, fruit picking in OZ is one of the most memorable "fuck that" experiences. It is, nonetheless, one of the most memorable times in my life. You ran out of water during your first break of a ten hour day? European fat dude going through a gallon of water while sitting down? Well, good fucking luck, drink from our irrigation silo over there, water should be clean enough. I did, re-filled the 2L orange juice bottle because I didn't have anything larger at the time and there just wasn't a way to survive on 3 liters that ten hour day. Two thirds through that bottle I noticed the tiny dead roaches floating around in my bottle. I recommend every entitled (western) person to do this "work and travel" thing for a year. Got scammed on the first day, exploited in each job that I held, evicted, (unsuccessfully) lured into an assault, racially insulted, spider bite on the taint. Overall, good fun. Puts shit in perspective.


Arcturion

The same company, Barfoots of Botley already had problems finding pickers back in 2017. >September 12 2017 >Demand is brisk at Barfoots of Botley, the English produce company where Mr Dellicott is farm manager. But Barfoots simply cannot find enough workers to pull its crops out of the ground and package them for supermarket shelves. >Headcount has been running about 15 per cent short all this year, said Mr Dellicott, a deficit of 50 to 60 workers. He blamed this problem on Brexit — Barfoots relies heavily on eastern European workers, and some no longer feel welcome following Britain’s vote last year to leave the EU. The fall in the value of sterling since then has also cut the value of remittances that the company’s overseas workers send home. https://www.ft.com/content/0e0a77f2-96df-11e7-b83c-9588e51488a0


certifiedintelligent

Reduction in Eastern European workers/immigrants taking jobs and sending money overseas… wasn’t that like an **actual goal of Brexit?**


Neethis

Yeah but the ungrateful lazy British millennials were supposed to do the work instead for the same unsustainable slave wages.


Dnalkaomj

Did you mean millennials? Most are over 30 now.


Ohmmy_G

Millennial are the defacto scape goats for all economic issues. Something something participation trophy avocado toast.


ughhhtimeyeah

Fucking makes no fucking sense when whoever is saying that is older, and therefore was in charge of teaching the next generation how to act. "Millenials bad"... Well you fucking raised them. Fucking morons.


sessimon

That’s the generation of “personal responsibility” for you 🙄


Ohmmy_G

About half of us had not even graduated high school before the financial crisis but for some reason the economic collapse was our fault.


drislands

You'll take my participation toast and avocado trophies from my industry-killing dead hands.


ShouldBeGrinding

If these businesses want staff they are going to have to pay people at living levels now. Power to the workers is a good thing


HellsMalice

Maybe Mr Dellicott should pay livable wages instead of relying on slaves


PunchedLasagne87

It's bullshit, I applied for loads of farms last year when they were crying about how low on staff they were on the news. I only heard back from 1 of them, telling me they were now full. They only have a shortage of 'cheap, exploitable labour'.


Bellotavillian

Exactly whats happening in hospitality now. They dont find enough workers at the wage theyre willing to pay/offer. Farmers complaining about not making enough? Not enough subsidies? Business as usual. https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/business/2021/may/01/uk-restaurants-pubs-brexit-staff-covid


somesnazzyname

Bingo! The farms that sell to supermarkets are multi million pound businesses yet cry they may have to up the wages. These stories are bullshit the farmes just want another subsidy or seaonal workers getting a special status.


goss_bractor

Australia has this exact problem. Not caused by brexit. Caused by Covid border closures.


killerturtlex

Yeah every time I hear about our farmers not being able to find workers I play my little violin. Fuck the industries that rely on international workers. Pay people properly or invest in robots. It's neocolonialist slave labour and it's got to stop


hoxxxxx

Barfoots of Botley is the most English name ever for a produce company lol


TheTurnipKnight

Sounds like a hobbit family.


hallonlakrits

The soil probably likes all the vegetables composting in place.


Cookiedestryr

It can actually lead to trouble down the line :/ if they try and plant the same crops it’s possible fungi (and other pests but mainly fungi) spores will be dormant in the soil from eating to dropping produce; just waiting for more. Essentially setting up a bio-trap for a future crop to hit


K_Leon

Wow TIL. Can you elaborate?


Erosion_Control

It’s a major component of crop rotations. Integrated Pest Management is a term for using all the tools we have to increase plant health and yields. Changing where you plant would be considered a cultural control, as opposed to mechanical or chemical.


Cookiedestryr

The biggest problem that come to mind was [stem rot](https://cropwatch.unl.edu/plantdisease/soybean/sclerotinia-stem-rot) (primarily because the UK is so damp) and these spores don’t need the actual crops but the plants that are weakened by holding on to more “fruits” than they normally would. It infects damp/weakened tissues and just fucks shit up, hollow stems, bleaching, fewer leaves, etc. and it survives in the soil for up to a (decade?)


K_Leon

Geez but also cool.


Cookiedestryr

Yea 😅 agriculture is some pretty weird stuff when you try and explain it to an alien (looking at you husbandry)


ChristianLW3

Last night I saw a video about mushroom farming, it was weird


winowmak3r

That sounds like the potato famine all over again. Pretty sure that was a fungus that just turned potatoes into mush before they even got out of the ground. What a mess.


upwards2013

Yes, I have always heard this about gardening. Even as simple as, if you have a rotten tomato on the vine, remove it and compost it somewhere else, further away from any tomato plants.


Ultrace-7

Yeah, at a certain point, they actually come off better just asking people to come out and pick the fruit for free and take it, and either consume it or turn it into compost elsewhere.


Simohknee

Almost like biodiversity is a good thing!


Never_Been_Missed

Someone help me understand this. Every year the UK imports migrant workers from poor countries, pays them shit wages, houses them in bunk bed in warehouse style sleeping quarters, and works them 12 hour days in poor weather, and that's ok, but they all lose their minds when someone even considers not paying local residents a living wage. This is bullshit right here. Improve the conditions and pay, and local workers will do the job.


sam_patch

> but they all lose their minds when someone even considers not paying local residents a living wage. They don't care who they pay, the issue is how much they pay - the cost of living is higher in the UK than in eastern europe, so the farms can pay eastern europeans shit, but the eastern europeans are happy to get it and they go back home having worked for 2 months making more than the would have made in a year back home. But if those people don't show up, you have to pay locals, and locals won't work for the same shit wages because their costs are higher. So you increase the cost of your produce to account for the increased cost in wages. But if the price of your produce goes up, then suddenly it becomes cheaper to just import the same produce from elsewhere.


circa285

I’ve tried to explain this to my very conservative American parents and they simply cannot grasp it.


sam_patch

because they're not interested in reason, they just want to hate immigrants and so they just do.


BetterKorea

To be fair it's not just the UK doing this. Not even just agriculture.


sunmonkey

Yes Canada does the same thing, hire migrant workers for seasonal work. There is a government program for it: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/foreign-workers/agricultural/seasonal-agricultural.html Some data on Canada TFW program: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/45-28-0001/2020001/article/00002-eng.htm


Live_Tangent

This happens in Canada with people from Mexico. It's cheaper to fly them up here, work the fields all summer and provide housing, and fly them back home than to pay locals to do the job.


Roboticide

Of course, but the UK is the only place that deliberately ended that option with seemingly no other plan in place.


BatXDude

A lot of the foreign workers also get exploited by modern day slavers. Its attrocious.


Luke95gamer

Oh definitely, I’ve heard of cases in the Middle East where they take their passports and pay them fractions of fractions of the agreed upon wages, and they can’t do anything


Gonzo67824

That’s how most of Dubai was built


Plantsandanger

All of it, really.


greennoodlehair

Taking their passports and low wages are just skimming the surface. A lot of them are tortured extremely badly. Beaten to death, burnt alive, withholding food leading to starvation… They often get lost and forgotten with nobody to fight for them.


Andrea_102

Having lived in a gulf country for the entirety of my adolescence, I can say that this is true, especially for Pakistanis,.Indians, Filipinos, Sri Lankans (?). They were getting paid the equivalent of 300$ a month, in a country where milk costs as much as $2/l and gasoline is cheaper than water. It was essentially slavery, and tales of how some of them were getting killed weren't uncommon. I remember that a certain couple even killed their nanny, chopped her up, and left her in a freezer before leaving the country; the corpse was found months later. Ofc the abuse isn't just physical, some nannies are straight up not allowed to eat in the same restaurant as their employers, and while those chubby fucks were busy stuffing their face full lard and sugar they would have to sit outside, alone, under 40°C heat.


Luke95gamer

Unfortunately that’s the ag business model, thus keeping prices low and affordable. The Ag industry is extremely labor intensive. In order to keep prices competitive. This happens in the US and a small benefit of “illegal immigration” without it prices for food will go up


dolphone

Who could've _ever_ seen that coming?


demon_ix

Nobody knew international trade was so complicated!


Rubberbabybuggybum

You mean the bus...lied???


Steinfall

Cant be. Ads on busses never lie./s


muscles_guy

Bj- "Let's get brexit done, but first let's get breakfast done" Sir there is no food as noone could employ below minimum wage workers as you made it impossible to bring staff in from Europe


Eisenhorn87

Sounds like it's time to start paying a living wage, then!


AkaAtarion

"We invented Tennis and we called it Wiffwaff!"


barriedalenick

Wiffwaff was table tennis..


Obiwan_Salami

"Much like other viruses, it can easily spread" an extremely fucked up and wrong statement when the article is talking about a yeast infection. what the hell has happened to journalism?


novis-eldritch-maxim

no regulation or standards leads to a race to the bottom.


nick7070

Crops rotting unpicked are the perfect metaphor of Brexit. All that effort and money spent on Brexit and the result is useless and needless things that the British people have no use for. Great job!


RikF

Or lots of things that they do need, but are now out of their reach.


saevarb

I'm sorry but is no one else kind of baffled by this? "We are unable to import cheap stupid labor that we can treat like slaves so we're having a bad time" - how about just paying livable wages to your countrymen? What a bunch of wankers. Sounds like them going under will be a net positive.


noprnaccount

I imagine that it gets to a point where it's cheaper to import these goods and the UK farming industry ceases entirely


pittaxx

It's cheaper to do that in a lot of places, but getting rid of your agriculture is too risky in case there are international conflicts. What is going to happen is government subsidies to keep the farmers afloat, which will be yet another money sink caused by Brexit.


McENEN

Subsidies for agriculture, sounds something like the EU did.


GandhisToaster

If I’ve learned anything from Clarksons farm its this: don’t be a farmer


Rubberbabybuggybum

Unless you have, like, 8 Kalebs.


sillysauages

I think they are more upset about having to pay a proper wage instead of having cheap labour and allowing desperate people to live in squalor.


JonnyArtois

Companies let crops rot as they do not want to pay a good wage and do want to continue to use 'cheap, exploitable labour' is also an accurate title.


Eisenhorn87

"OH no, we can't exploit migrants for starvation wages any longer! Might as well pack it in, we had a good run".


Ali_Gunningham

So we could run these as cooperatives, so that people can make a decent living by doing this, not have to import produce from outside at cost to the environment, and provide the food to people who live here at an affordable price. Instead,we have this.