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FTA calls for clear status for seasonal workers

[ August 20, 2018   //   ]

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is calling on the government to clarify the position for European seasonal employees after the UK leaves the European Union, in order to provide some stability for a sector already facing significant skills gaps.

It says that the country could face a crisis if the government does not allow continued access to seasonal employees from the EU including drivers and warehouse workers

FTA says that due to the seasonal nature of logistics, access to temporary staff is crucial and this gap has been filled by many EU workers, adding that while there is a plan for workers wanting to gain settled status there is none for those come to the UK for seasonal work.

FTA’s head of skills, Sally Gilson, said: “Employers need clarification on who they will be allowed to employ, and the work these staff will be eligible to undertake, now, rather than in March 2019.   And with a significant shortage of available British staff to take up the slack – there are currently more than 52,000 vacancies for HGV drivers alone – it is clear that the logistics industry would be unable to move the goods and services the nation needs if the government’s Brexit plan does not allow access to seasonal workers from the EU.  Preventing them from working would create a fracture in the supply chain which could not be mended easily.”

One of the solutions to the skills shortage in logistics could apprenticeships via the government’s Levy system, but Ms Gilson says this is being hindered by bureaucracy. She said: “Logistics is being seriously hindered by a lack of specialist, appropriate apprenticeships.  Although the sector has worked hard to develop appropriate qualifications, the process is being prolonged by the Institute for Apprenticeship’s bad administration. We have been waiting for vital new standards to be approved for a year now and without them, businesses are prevented from spending their levy monies appropriately.  The government’s own target of three million apprenticeship starts will continue to be unattainable  until the apprenticeship system is overhauled to deliver what business needs.”

 

 

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