Food processing regulations and the Dracula connection

Jobs for Romanians and Bulgarians in the food sector

07 November 2008. Because the legend of Dracula comes from Romania, the British authorities draw their own conclusion that Romanians like blood and darkness. So the UK Border Agency (UKBA) recommends that Romanians should get jobs that involve either ‘dead flesh’ or ‘working in the dark’.

The Guidance for Employers from 1 April 2008 – a document not so mediatised – provides information and advice on how to make an application under the criteria that apply only to Bulgarian and Romanian Nationals under the Sectors Based Scheme (SBS) arrangements.

The SBS arrangements allow UK based employers to recruit Bulgarians and Romanians only, to fill certain, specified posts within the Food Manufacturing sector.

The Guidance points out that the post on offer must be one of those posts listed below:

• Animal gut remover;
• Meat bone breaker;
• Meat bone extractor;
• Meat cold store operator;
• Meat cutter;
• Meat packer;
• Meat process operatives;
• Meat slaughterer;
• Lairageman (pre-slaughter animal welfare attendant);
• Trimmer (trims fat from and shapes meat, after it has been boned and cut).

Do you think this document outlines the national discrimination of the new Europeans?

Is it unfair to restrain the food processing jobs for Romanians and Bulgarians only to “meat bone extractors”?

Don’t worry, the list includes also:
• Fish filleters (prepares, cleans, cuts fish for processing);
• Fish packers (packing, wrapping, labelling, sealing, by hand or machine, fish for distribution and sale);
• Fish process operatives (operating, minding and cleaning machines that prepare fish for distribution and sale).

As a gentle touch of generosity, the UKBA gives the opportunity to the new European citizens to work as mushroom processors (tends growing crops, picks, grades and packs mushrooms for distribution and sale).

The SBS is issued on a quota basis. The quota changes from year to year, and may be exhausted in the course of the year. For 2008 the quota is 3500 permits for Romanians and Bulgarians. These permits are split between the food manufacturing sectors as follows:
• fish processing – 600;
• meat processing – 2100;
• mushroom processing – 800.

As a matter of fact, why the UKBA outlines only “meat bone extractor” type jobs open to Romanians and Bulgarians in the food processing sector?

We consider that any job in the food processing sector is worth to be done, but we regard as discrimination to restrain the jobs on national criteria.

Radu Tutuianu

See also

Meat worker – like a slave
UK: I romeni? A macellare la carne!
Prelucrarea mancarii si legatura cu Dracula

Asylum family saved by Bishop’s appeal

Overseas workers reinforce the economy