Coronavirus: Scotland’s food bodies urge firms to reduce staffing

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

The Scottish organisations have called for clarity on key workers
The Scottish organisations have called for clarity on key workers

Related tags: coronavirus

Scotland’s leading farming, fishing, food and drink organisations are urging businesses to follow critical steps to reduce staffing to the bare essentials required to secure Scotland’s food supply.

The 14 organisations, which include Scotland Food & Drink, FDF Scotland and the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society, have made the call following the closure of schools and the current social distancing advice. 

The industry bodies are also calling on the Scottish Government to provide greater clarity to Scotland’s 32 local authorities on who should be defined as key workers, to support the supply of food across the country. 

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, national advice has been issued to define key workers, including those involved in the production, delivery and sale of food. However, the organisations said that Scotland had not issued such advice, leaving the 32 local authorities to make a case-by-case decision. 

Food and drink businesses have been asked to reduce staffing levels to the lowest possible number to maintain the production of essential goods. They have also been advised not to contact their local authority to make the case for key worker designation unless “it is the measure of last resort”.

The industry organisations have also stressed the importance of ensuring the ongoing supply of food and drink into key public services and retailers. At present, some local authorities have recognised the priority of food supply under category two of the key worker designation. 

All the organisations said they recognised the huge efforts of ministers in the face of issues of incredible complexity and gravity. 

The joint statement was issued from the following industry bodies: Scotland Food & Drink, FDF Scotland, Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society, National Farmers Union Scotland, Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, Quality Meat Scotland, Seafood Scotland, Scotch Whisky Association, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Scottish Seafood Association, Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, Dairy UK, Agricultural Industries Confederation Scotland, and Scottish Bakers. 

Related topics: Supply Chain

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