AIMS calls for ‘flexible furlough’ for meat plants

The Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS) is calling on the Government to introduce a flexible furlough scheme for the meat industry.

It wants abattoirs to be able to be able pay full wages when staff are needed and the 80% furlough payment when they are not needed.

AIMS head of policy Norman Bagley said the association welcomed the measures taken by the Government during the ‘national emergency’, particularly the ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’, which allows for staff to be furloughed, that is laid off for the duration of the crisis, while the Government pays 80% of their wages.

“But as it stands, this is very much a one size fits all scheme and simply doesn’t taken into account the differences that exist from industry to industry,” he said.

AIMS has discussed the issue with ‘many members across all different points within the supply chain’.

“What we are hearing is that many have seen a downturn in their businesses but do not have the need to fully close,” Mr Bagley said

“We would like to see the option for flexible furlough whereby staff would receive their full earnings from their employers on the days they work and the 80% furlough payment on the days they don’t.

“Many of our members supply much of what they produce to the hospitality industry who through Government instruction are not currently operating. They have some additional retail business, and many have moved into home delivery. However, those sales in no way will replace the business lost.”

If businesses can operate flexible furlough, there would be a saving to the country’s finances and businesses would be more likely to survive the impact of coronavirus, AIMS added.

This follows similar calls from other organisations such as Scottish Land & Estates.

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.