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The workers in the vineyard

Caroline Pinchbeck discusses the ethical challenges that result from labour shortages in UK farming

The workers in the vineyard ISTOCK

SOMETIMES BIBLE STORIES resonate in unexpected ways.

In Matthew’s gospel we hear the story of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16). The vineyard owner hires more and more workers during the day, presumably in a bid to harvest a bumper crop of grapes. Jesus uses the parable to teach about the kingdom but, in a contemporary parallel, the agricultural and horticultural industries in the UK rely on a flexible labour pool, just like the one Jesus describes, to bring in the harvest.

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