First Nando’s, next it could be pubs to experience the Great British chicken shortage

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It’s not quite as sad as a pub without beer, but the chicken shortage that has hit Nando’s could be about to affect Britain’s boozers.


The British Poultry Council (BPC), which represents those involved in the production of poultry meat in the UK, said its members have seen production cut by up to 10% due to issues at farms and processing plants.


The BPC said the sector is facing a serious shortage of production operatives and processing staff, described in some circles as Brexit chickens coming home to roost, as the industry struggles to replace overseas workers who have returned whence they came.


Earlier this week, the restaurant chain Nando’s said it had closed dozens of restaurants because of a chicken shortage; now suppliers are warning that the shortage could spread to pubs, many of which are relying on food trade to lure in punters made leery by the pandemic of congregating in lunch numbers indoors.


The situation has been made worse by irate lorry drivers who are considering striking for higher pay.


According to the Unite union, top managers at Booker Retail Partners, part of Tesco PLC (LSE:TSCO), have failed to show up for talks aimed at averting the possible strike action.


Unite said, despite the company indicating it wanted to start pay talks early to address a pay differential dispute involving about 40 drivers at its Thamesmead site, the bosses are now ‘missing in action’.


The Thamesmead drivers, who deliver to independent retailers under the Budgens and Londis brands, are now being balloted for strike action and industrial action short of a strike. Unite is seeking a similar uplift to that experienced by drivers working for Booker in Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire.


“At a time when [the] country faces the worst HGV driver shortage in modern times with an estimated 100,000 vacancies in the industry, it is the height of irresponsibility that there is no executive for Unite to negotiate with – it is worthy of a Fawlty Towers episode,” said Unite’s Paul Travers.

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