Monday, 3 May 2010

Shortage of farm workers

The vegetable asparagus has become increasingly popular over the last few years and farmers have had to increase the amount they grow.

Due to our climate British grown asparagus is widely considered to be the best in the world.

One problem that farmers are having though is that they can't get enough local employees to pick the vegetable and so are having to employ eastern Europeans.

A reporter on BBC breakfast (3 May 2010) asked one of the eastern European workers why she thought that British people wouldn't do the job. She replied that she thought they were ashamed to work on the land.

The reporter then revealed the wage paid - £5.80 an hour.

And there we have the real reason that British people don't want the job. The low pay.

By the laws of supply and demand if you can't get enough people to do a job you have to increase the wages paid. If the farmer in this case offered £8.80 an hour he would find that local people would be interested in doing the job but when the government allows him to employ people from eastern Europe on a low wage there is no incentive for him to provide a decent living wage for local people.

And this highlights the whole problem with the recent immigration from eastern Europe. The Polish, Slovakians and Czechs that I've worked with were lovely people but the government should never have allowed them to come here and work for less than local people could possibly accept and still hope to keep up a decent standard of living.

We have to return to a situation where people are paid a decent wage for a decent day's work. Not, as we have at the moment, where our living standards have to be reduced if we are to compete for low paid jobs with people from abroad.

No comments: