Dr Roxana Barbulescu co-authors blog post on seasonal harvest workers during Covid-19

The blog post discusses the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on labour supply within the UK's horticultural sector.

Writing for 'The UK in a Changing Europe', Professor Carlos Vargas-Silva, Associate Professor at the University of Oxford, and Dr Roxana Barbulescu, University Academic Fellow at the University of Leeds, explain that recruiting workers from abroad has proved difficult in the UK due to travel restrictions imposed globally. This has caused the UK to experience a shortage of workers within the horticultural sector; this labour shortage has threatened the UK food supply as it’s fallen at a crucial time for harvest.

The notion that British workers, especially those who are unemployed or have been furloughed, can simply replace the depleted workforce comes with several challenges.

The article goes on to consider the potential limitations and challenges of this notion, discussing the difficulties in recruiting and retaining seasonal workers as well as other practicalities. 

The blog post concludes with a critical reflection of the impacts this is likely to have on the UK in the near future.

Read the blog post.