22 October, 2020

Why Might British Fruit Pickers Be Slower Than Their European Counterparts?

The four-minute mile was first run by Roger Bannister and he was British. And then lots of other runners followed breaking their own personal best records.

Lewis Hamilton wins his Formula 1 races because of his driving skills as well as the technical knowledge and skills of the team around him and the technology that goes into the car he is driving.

So why might the British fruit Pickers who have replaced their European counterparts during the pandemic be so much slower at two soft-fruit farms? Instead of the usual sixty two pounds of soft fruit picked on average every hour by their migrant fruit pickers, this year’s British workers according to National Framers Union data only picked at just over half that rate.

According to the farms it’s not that the British aren’t willing or enthusiastic. But it could be because the British workers had little experience of working outdoors and doing such physical work whereas their European counterparts do. And that’s what makes them more productive.

And of course this fall in productivity means that picking costs have risen during the lockdown. Which is in addition to the additional costs incurred to keep the farms covid-19 compliant with social distancing and personal protective equipment for all workers.

So the resulting increase in the wholesale price of fruit could be passed by retailers onto the consumers. Would British consumers complain if they knew the reason why?


Business Talk

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