The Workers Union has demanded the government offers the UK’s beleaguered food industry a “new deal”.
The news comes as the country moves towards the transition period deadline, on December the 31st.
The transition period was designed to allow the government and the EU time to pursue internal and external discussions about the nature of any future relationship. And while the government has resumed talks with industry in a bid to avert new year chaos, many business owners remain worried about the impact of a no-deal scenario on trading conditions.
If Boris Johnson fails to secure an agreement, Britain will revert to World Trade Organisation (WTO) standard rules that will see additional tariffs applied to imports – potentially pushing food prices up for hard-pressed consumers and adding extra costs throughout the chain.
A recent white paper by the Food and Drink Federation and Business Wise Solutions confirmed the industry’s unease, with 65 percent of business owners claiming they were ‘not feeling confident’ about the way that Brexit would affect their situation.
The Worker Union Says
This has been a year of hell for many businesses. Coronavirus sucked the life out of hospitality, leisure, aviation and retail, and left unsafe structures that required government cash to prop them up. Our food industry has endured similar treatment, and now with Brexit looming, company chiefs are looking for crystal-clear guidance to help them build a robust response to the inevitable buffeting.
The government needs to look at the particular challenges that face this sector and provide a straightforward roadmap to negotiating the next 6-12 months. Part of that approach should see additional financial support packages for companies severely affected by the changes. This is a just and necessary step, because there will still be additional costs to absorb, regardless of whether the UK’s negotiators agree a deal with the EU or not.
More than anything, the moral imperatives are clear. Inflated costs and additional bureaucratic burdens will be an unwelcome addition to the current COVID-hit budgets. Some companies may look to drastic solutions to cut spending, which will inevitably affect hard-working people throughout the sector. Others may find recruiting labour from EU countries difficult, leading to many positions left unfilled. While this may represent a superficial opportunity for British workers, much remains to be done to make these jobs attractive.
So we say to the government, in a country already bruised from recent battles, it would be unthinkable to heap more misery on our working people for want of a clear, constructive plan. It’s time to make bold decisions – thousands of jobs, business and livelihoods are depending on it.
The Workers Union – Britain’s hardest working union