Norfolk firm hit by double whammy of Brexit and covid-related staffing issues

Traditional Norfolk Poultry director Mark Gorton with some of his firm's free-range turkeys. Picture

Mark Gorton of Traditional Norfolk Poultry - Credit: Chris Hill

A Norfolk firm which has already been struggling with recruiting staff has faced extra pressures with absences due to Covid.

Mark Gorton, managing director at Traditional Norfolk Poultry, revealed that 5-10pc of his workforce is off due to Covid and that it is making it "difficult" to maintain efficient production lines.

January and February are a busy time for the Shropham-based poultry company, which has already faced a challenge in recruiting staff due to EU workers struggling to get visas since Brexit.

In the run up to Christmas those within the EU looking to come to the UK to work within the poultry industry could apply for a Seasonal Worker visa.

These visas ran out on December 31, 2021, which has resulted in companies like his already facing a scarcity of labour and Mr Gorton revealed that "Covid is just making it worse".

While some companies have been facing challenges of staff shortages due to Covid, others have reported that they have had little disruption so far.

A spokesperson at British Sugar, which has several factories throughout Norfolk and Suffolk, said: “We have minimal numbers of colleagues off due to Covid-related issues, and our operations are unaffected.”

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Meanwhile, Aviva said that although they do not have information about the number off due to Covid, staff have been told to follow Government work from home guidelines.

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