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Will there be Direction ofLabour?

  john bunyan 07:58 02 Apr 2020

During WW2 there was a system of Direction of Labour. For example an aunt had to work for Negretti and Zambra making instruments for bombers. With maybe millions being off work and farmers desperate for people to gather crops , would it be politically possible to insist fitter young folk go to farms , in the absence of East Europeans?

Could it be linked with payment? Ie they would be told it’s either going to a farm of no pay?

  john bunyan 08:01 02 Apr 2020

Of = or

  Dunk 11:17 02 Apr 2020

Grand idea, then all those out-of-school children could be sent up chimneys, as well. Damn, too much central heating these days - have to think again about that one.

  Forum Editor 12:47 02 Apr 2020

"With maybe millions being off work and farmers desperate for people to gather crops , would it be politically possible to insist fitter young folk go to farms , in the absence of East Europeans?"

Under normal circumstances it isn't possible to force citizens to work anywhere - we have freedom of choice about what work we do, provided we can find someone to employ us.

Parliament has recently granted our government a range of sweeping emergency powers, but they stop short of being able to force people to work in locations chosen by the government. People can certainly be encouraged to work on farms, and could even be offered inducements to do so, but I don't think we're at the stage where they can be compelled by law.

  Pine Man 13:26 02 Apr 2020

and could even be offered inducements to do so,

.......or sanctions imposed maybe?

  wee eddie 13:36 02 Apr 2020

One of the problems that beset UK citizens doing Seasonal Work is that the Benefits System is unable to account for short term employment and hammers anyone who, for example, works for the 8 weeks of the asparagus season or does strawberry picking.

Their entitlement to benefit is removed and not reinstated after the particular season has finished. They are treated as if they have been sacked for a misdemeanour and lose their entitlement.

  roger.roger 13:59 02 Apr 2020

There was a piece in one of the weekend papers in which farmers of high labour produce were putting their case. They said they wanted tens of thousands of workers and set up an online kind of questionnaire to see if applicants would be suitable.

With my farming background I thought it would be interesting to fill in an application, then I read the terms and conditions.

a) all work is piece work so the more you pick the more you earn.

b) all pay will be at least the minimum wage .

c) you must be prepared to go to different counties

d) If you do not pick up the minimum quota you will be retrained.

e) If after retraining you still cannot pick up the minimum quota after training, your employment will be terminated at once.

Obviously I did not send my application

  roger.roger 14:16 02 Apr 2020

My wife was talking to one of her friends and heard one of the local farmers was struggling. Their usual help had been in an accident and will be laid up for awhile. He has a herd of 85 friesian milkers and has been milking them solid for 3 weeks, his wife has been busy with the lambing. Poor chap and his wife were exhausted.

I gave him some respite on sunday and took over the milking for the day, not the best day as it was up an hour earlier. 5.30 start to set things up and start milking. The milk tanker turns up at 9am. Luckily the herd had been turned out, so there was no feeding and bedding up to do afterwards, just the calves to feed and the heifers to check over. Finally washed down the parlour after the afternoon milking, put everything away and got finished for 7pm.

I had checked with local constabulary and they were fine. Most farms now have stringent hygiene regimes, wheel and foot baths and showering facilities to enter and exit premises.

I enjoyed it, though very hard work and have put my name down for further days. Also have let it be know to the local small farmers that if the require any help in silage, hay are harvest time to let me know.

  john bunyan 20:38 02 Apr 2020


Clearly you are too young to remember WW2 when people not in “essential occupations” such as the railways. Hospitals etc were either called up into the armed forces or the coal mines ( Bevin Boys) - my father to the RAF as he was in the RAFVR, my mother to the WAAF , aunt to a factory, F in L a Bevin Boy etc. The whole family were involved.

To compare it with little boys being sent up chimneys is ridiculous.

The fact is that we are in a new war - Coronavirus is a very difficult global enemy . So far we haven’t got weapons to fight it until vaccines are developed. The cost of borrowing is huge, like the WW2 Marshall Plan that took 60 years to pay off.

If we don’t want problems with food supplies due to no East Europe migrant workers then perhaps some of the younger , fitter , unemployed may either volunteer or even be instructed to help out. It seem ridiculous to have thousands of people being paid by the taxpayers but sitting at home when farmers are desperate for workers. In WW2 there was a Women’s Land Army - if this goes on we may come to something like that.

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