LONDON, July 21 (Reuters) – Britain’s food supply chains are ‘on the verge of failure’ as COVID-19-related absence has exacerbated a severe labor shortage, an organization said on Wednesday of the meat industry.
The British Meat Processors’ Association (BMPA) said the skills shortage was so critical that some factories had reported vacancies of 10-16% of permanent positions, regardless of the impact of the pandemic.
“In addition to the underlying shortage of workers, some members also tell us that between 5% and 10% of their workforce has been ‘pinged’ by the (health services) app and asked to self-help. isolate, ”said Nick, CEO of BMPA. Allen said.
The shortage of workers has affected meat products which require more manpower to produce, he said, meaning these lines would be the first to be cut.
England’s auto factories, railways, supermarkets and pubs warned the government on Monday that the COVID-19 tracking app, which has asked hundreds of thousands of workers to self-isolate, is destroying the recovery and pushing supply chains to the brink of collapse. Read more
The official app’s alerts, or “pings,” telling anyone identified as a contact of someone with the disease to self-isolate for 10 days have also disrupted schools and the health system.
The government announced exemptions for some workers identified as critical, including healthcare and transport workers, but said it did not anticipate widespread rule changes.
Images on social media have shown gaps on supermarket shelves as the so-called “pingemia” puts pressure on retailers’ ability to maintain opening hours and inventory.
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at industry lobby group the British Retail Consortium, said the government must act quickly.
“Retailers and suppliers, who have played a critical role throughout this pandemic, should be allowed to work provided they are double vaccinated or can test negative for COVID, to ensure that the public’s ability to procuring food and other goods is not disrupted, ”he said.
Reporting by James Davey; edited by Barbara Lewis
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