SAMW warns of “tidal wave of rising costs” amid increasing labour rates
The Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) has reported “no significant easing of labour pressures during the last month”, as operating costs rise.
Speaking after the November meeting of the Association’s executive council, SAMW president, Alan McNaughton, said that member companies were “continuing to battle against labour issues and rising operating costs.”
McNaughton said that members were working hard to maintain meat supplies to retail customers in the run-up to the Christmas and New Year holiday period. He continued: “This is always a pressured peak-demand time for businesses but the stress under which companies are working this year is unprecedented.”
He explained that a combination of the industry’s shortage of skilled workers and the continued disruption to staff availability caused by Covid-19 has “pushed many businesses to the edge of their capacity.”
McNaughton said that the government’s visa system and language requirements are “too restrictive to be of any real help in the urgent staffing position in which member businesses find themselves.”
He continued: “In addition to being unable to attract new workers, despite raising wage rates across our industry, member companies are also having to pick up the bill for rising labour costs from our suppliers. Just about everyone who provides meat companies with products or services, from the major energy companies to individual specialists, are having to pay more for their staff and are passing their increased costs on to our members.
“This is creating a tidal wave of rising costs across the meat production and supply chain which will inevitably ‘hit home’ at some point in the future. It is lamentable that the UK government continues to completely ignore the warning signs. That ministers are still suggesting that businesses need to sort these problems out on their own is not an acceptable position. This will ultimately rebound on consumers through reduced product availability and higher prices.”