FARMERS who employ workers are being encouraged to complete NFU Scotland's latest Employment and Wages Survey, which is now open.

The union stressed that despite the current pandemic, the UK’s exit from Europe was still being negotiated, and legislators in the UK and Scotland were considering policies which would have a significant bearing on the sector’s future ability to employ workers, both on farms and crofts, and further into the food and drink supply chain. Against that background, it was vital that the Scottish agricultural sector could provide the most up-to-date and accurate data on its labour needs.

Key policy points which NFUS would hope to influence with the survey data now include:

  • The UK Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), which is advising the UK Government on the new Points Based Immigration System, is consulting on which occupations should be prioritised in the new Shortage Occupation List;
  • Negotiations ongoing at the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board;
  • The UK Low Pay Commission, which advises governments on the Minimum Wage, is consulting on wage rates.

NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick: “Within the agricultural sector, the Covid-19 crisis has shown us the real value of the people who work on our farms, crofts and agricultural businesses.

“At the start of the crisis, we pledged to keep the plates and glasses of Scotland full. We have done a fantastic job in delivering food and drink to the nation, but we could not have done that without our valued workforce across the whole supply chain.

“This a watershed year," said Mr McCornick. "We face a significant economic shock paired with the conclusion of the negotiations between the UK and the EU on our future relationship, including the creation of a new system of immigration from January 1, 2021.

“There will clearly continue to be challenges ahead and whether they are financial, economic, or political, they will impact our businesses and the individuals we employ. We urge all employers to complete this survey which will help us feed in robust evidence on the industry’s employment needs at this critical time.”

Farm employers can access the survey at:

The deadline for responding is 5.00pm on Monday June 15.