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5am starts, poverty wages and no running water—the grim reality of “picking for Britain”

"When I started there were 30 Brits working in this field; a month later there are just five of us"

By Herbie Russell  

For decades, the UK’s agricultural industry has relied on migrant labour. Each year, an estimated 80,000 workers, primarily from Eastern Europe, come to harvest Britain’s fruit and veg. But this year, due to Covid-19 travel restrictions and ongoing uncertainties regarding Brexit, many would-be fruit pickers have been unable to make the trip. This has left a gaping hole in the agricultural workforce—one which British workers are expected to fill.

On the 19th May, Environment Secretary George Eustice launched the official “Pick for Britain” campaign, encouraging the population to take up work…

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