Recruitment campaign for apple and pear pickers

National growers’ organisation British Apples and Pears has launched a recruitment campaign to fill 10,000 picking jobs in their members’ orchards from August to October. 

Specially targeted are people who have previously worked in the hospitality industry and have lost their jobs in the Covid-19 pandemic, university students and workers from other industry sectors. Furloughed workers are also being sought.

The organisation is hoping to mobilise the non-working workforce to “bring in the apple and pear harvest in our orchards and support our farmers’ efforts to get fresh fruit to the nation”, the organisation said.

A smaller number of jobs will also be available in June for apple thinning and summer pruning in orchards, an organisation statement said: “These are critical to ensure we have a great harvest later in the year.”

Harvest workers are paid at the National Living Wage (£8.72/per hour), “and on many farms a productivity bonus is paid to workers based on the quantity and quality of their picking”, the organisation said. 

“Fruit picking is hard work, but it’s rewarding knowing that you’re doing a valued job, and it’s also a great time to be out in the beautiful British countryside.”

Asked if furloughed workers would be allowed to take on paid work picking fruit, a spokeswoman responded: “Our understanding is that furloughed workers can take on another job whilst they are retained on furlough and being paid by their employer, as long as their contract with their current employer allows it or their employer agrees it.”

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