Tuesday, 08 January 2019 10:06

UK: Brexit threatens Scottish processing jobs because many workers are not British

EM1 18 News Int BrexitA Scottish fish processor says many jobs are at risk because of the employment security uncertainties with the current Brexit agreement. The managing director of one of the largest family-owned seafood processors in Europe says many workers, although EU citizens, are not British nationals, and their right to employment in Scotland after Brexit is uncertain.

With a shortage of Scottish and other British citizens willing to work with seafood, he says fish processing companies like his may face pressure if they are forced to discharge current workers. Scottish workers have attractive alternatives in the oil and gas sector, for example, and fish processors must often rely on immigrant labour supply. The rights of EU citizens living and working in the UK is an important area of concern in Brexit negotiations, but it has not been fully clarified.

Scotland exports much of its fish and shellfish to other EU markets, and Brexit’s impact on logistics has industry people worried. Much is exported in fresh form, making the possibility of transport delays with still uncertain customs procedures especially troubling. “A study last June by the Scottish government estimated an additional GBP 500million to the Scottish industry and 5,000 jobs,” says Bertie Armstrong, head of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation. Not everyone in the industry completely shares that optimism.