Not enough turkeys for Christmas due to Brexit, poultry producers warn

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UK poultry producers have warned that serious staff shortages caused by Brexit could mean there are not enough turkeys to go round this Christmas.

This week’s partial closure of the restaurant chain Nando’s, as well as fewer dishes on the menu at KFC, has thrown the consumer spotlight on a labour crisis exacerbated by Covid.

The British Poultry Council (BPC) said its members, which include 2 Sisters Food Group – the country’s largest supplier of supermarket chicken and KellyBronze Turkeys, had told them that one in six jobs were unfilled as a result of EU workers leaving the UK after Brexit.

The council’s chief executive, Richard Griffiths, said the group had written to the home secretary, Priti Patel, this month asking for the government to relax immigration rules but had not yet received a response.

The poultry industry employs more than 40,000 people but there are nearly 7,000 vacancies, the BPC said. The shortage means some chicken producers have reduced the size of their product ranges and cut weekly output by up to 10%, the letter said.

The supply of turkey is down by a similar amount but could decline by as much as 20% at Christmas as firms fear they will not be able to draft in the usual number of seasonal workers.

Read more via The Guardian