IFA Pigs Chairman Roy Gallie is calling on the Department of Trade, Enterprise and Employment (DTEE), and the Minister responsible, Damien English, to fast-track work permit applications from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to help alleviate the backlog of pigs in the market.
The Irish pigmeat sector is under extreme pressure due to the lack of suitable labour available at processing level and on pig farms.
“The continuous nature of pig production requires a constant flow through the farm. This production cycle requires that pigs are moved off the farm for processing in a timely fashion,” he said.
All farmers have prudently built-in latitude to allow for disruptions to the normal throughput, but the current shortage of labour has stretched this to breaking point.
IFA is aware that a number of work permit applications have been submitted to DTEE over the past number of months, but these have not yet been processed.
“It’s imperative that these permits are issued immediately to allow these skilled workers into the country,” he said.
IFA has made repeated calls for the re-introduction of the quota-based pilot work permit scheme, and this should be extended to include pig and poultry farms.