BPC reacts to Nando’s supply chain issues

BPC reacts to Nando’s supply chain issues

In response to the latest worker shortages, the British Poultry Council (BPC) has called on the government to prioritize the British poultry industry by implementing a series of policy changes.

BPC chief executive, Richard Griffiths.

According to a series of tweets by the restaurant group, Nando’s has had to shut around 50 outlets temporarily due to issues with supply of their peri-peri chicken.

The chain blamed the need to shutter outlets on staffing issues at its suppliers’ factories as well as the shortage of HGV lorry drivers that has resulted in gaps on supermarket shelves in recent weeks.

Signs in restaurant windows blamed stock supply issues for closures. The company also told customers online that shortages have been caused by staff “isolation periods” and suppliers “struggling to keep up with demand”.

BPC has responded to these closures, stating that the issues faced by the restaurant is “something we are seeing across the whole supply chain.”

“Vacancies of over 16%”

Richard Griffiths, BPC chief executive, said: “The labour crisis is a Brexit issue, and one that has been widely reported across the food and drink sector. The British poultry meat industry is reporting vacancies of over 16% and the alarming number of gaps only continue to grow due to a government that continually acts against the best interests of British food producers.”

Griffiths explained that by limiting non-UK labour supply and deeming British food workers as ‘low-skilled’, the government has “jeopardised food businesses and made access to quality British food harder for people in this country.”

He further claimed that, exacerbated by the ‘pingdemic’, UK food security is “being put at risk.”

BPC has called on the government to:

  • Include poultry meat supply chain workers on the ‘skilled worker list’ and ‘shortage occupation list’ and reduce unnecessary thresholds on salaries and skills
  • Extend the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme to the poultry meat sector (agriculture and processing), to protect seasonal demand for poultry meat and Christmas turkeys
  • Ensure vital food production is at the core of skills and education programmes such as the Lifetime Skills Guarantee and the Apprenticeship Levy to improve the appeal of the sector to build a UK workforce
  • Urgently conduct the first food security survey as required of them in the new Agriculture Bill.

“Two-tier food system”

Griffiths continued: “This country will be hit with a double whammy of food inflation and being forced to rely on more imported food produced to lower standards. This can only lead to a two-tier food system where high-quality British food is out of reach for those who will not be able to afford it.”

He added: “Our asks are clear and they provide government with a way out of this problem. If that means relaxing immigration rules or accepting regulatory alignment with the EU, then these are the steps that must be taken to put British food on the road to recovery.”

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