Commenting on the nationwide chicken shortages hitting UK restaurants and supermarkets, Unite national officer for food, drink and agriculture, Bev Clarkson, said: 

“The terrible pay and working conditions that make the meat processing industry one of the worst places to work in the UK are coming home to roost with the nationwide chicken shortages. 

“Chicken and egg debates about Brexit and the pingdemic ignore the real issue. The reason poultry processing staff shortages are resulting in closed restaurants and empty shelves is that the conditions are awful, and the pay is worse.   

“Unite is able to help fix the problem by working with meat processors to improve wages and terms and conditions that will lead to the long term retention of staff.  

“Major retailers and restaurant chains also have their part to play. They have wrung the neck of the poultry supply chain for year and years, leading chicken processors to adopt the employment practices that have led to the current labour shortages.”  


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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.