UK food supply chains ‘on the edge of failing', meat industry warns


Pictures on social media showed gaps on supermarket shelves as the so-called “pingdemic” is putting pressure on retailers’ ability to maintain opening hours and stock shelves

LONDON: Britain’s food supply chains are “right on the edge of failing” as absence related to COVID-19 has aggravated a critical shortage of labour, a meat industry body said on Wednesday.

The British Meat Processors’ Association (BMPA) said the shortage of skills was so critical, some plants had reported vacancies of 10% to 16% of permanent positions, discounting the impact of the pandemic.

“On top of the underlying worker shortage, we’re also hearing from some members that between 5% and 10% of their workforce have been 'pinged' by the (health service) app and asked to self-isolate,” BMPA CEO Nick Allen said.

The shortage of workers affected the meat products that require more labour to produce, he said, meaning those lines would be the first to be cut.

On Monday, England's car plants, railways, supermarkets and pubs warned the government that the COVID-19 tracing app, which has told hundreds of thousands of workers to isolate, was wrecking the recovery and pushing supply chains to the brink of collapse.

Alerts, or "pings", from the official app telling anyone identified as a contact of someone with the disease to self-isolate for 10 days have also disrupted schools and the healthcare system.

The government has announced exemptions for some workers identified as critical, including health and transport workers, but says it does not plan widespread rule changes.

Pictures on social media showed gaps on supermarket shelves as the so-called “pingdemic” is putting pressure on retailers’ ability to maintain opening hours and stock shelves.

Iceland Foods said over 1,000 workers, some 3% of its total staff, have been asked to self isolate, having been pinged by the app, forcing it to reduce trading hours and even shut a few stores.

It plans to recruit 2,000 additional staff to cover absences caused by self isolation.

Andrew Opie, director of food & sustainability at industry lobby group, the British Retail Consortium, said the government needs to act swiftly.

“Retail workers and suppliers, who have played a vital role throughout this pandemic, should be allowed to work provided they are double vaccinated or can show a negative COVID test, to ensure there is no disruption to the public’s ability to get food and other goods,” he said.- reuters

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

UK , food , supply chain , failing , supermarkets , shelves ,

   

Next In Business News

Maxis posts higher service revenue, net profit in 2Q of 2021
FBM KLCI decline approaches 1,500
Taming multicloud chaos
MIER: Consumers’ finances worsen, job outlook weakens
MIER sees rocky road ahead for businesses
Ringgit opens marginally higher as greenback trades sideways
Bursa set to end July on weak note as KLCI extends losses
Maybank maintains 'buy', target price on Frontken
Lim Seong Hai Capital surges on LEAP Market debut
Robust earnings ahead for Tasco

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers