A FIRM seeking seasonal workers has recruited scores of people from Eastern Europe because it cannot find enough willing workers here.
Crosslee, of Hipperholme, which makes tumble dryers, fires and heated food trolleys, has drafted in 300 temporary staff to augment its 400-strong workforce.
More than 200 of them are being bussed over from Poland and Latvia on six-month contracts.
The company will sort out accommodation with local landlords, set up bank accounts for the workers and provide training.
Managing director David Boyle said the company began bringing in workers from Poland and Latvia last year - and 60 joined the permanent staff.
But he said the firm had to rely more heavily on "imports" this year because it had struggled to find enough people in its usual recruiting grounds of Huddersfield and Halifax - despite offering "competitive" rates.
"The `imports' are willing workers," he said. "They proved exceptional last year."
Mr Boyle said local people seemed reluctant to take jobs which involved repetitive tasks, "hard work" or manual labour.
And he added: "We make it too easy for people. The benefits system is very detrimental to industry in the UK.
"I think we have some major problems in the UK and Western Europe - and it is to do with government not promoting manufacturing."
Mr Boyle said UK firms could compete with low-cost manufacturers in Eastern Europe and the Far East if taxes were cut.
"We were at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution," he said. "Now, more and more companies are leaving the UK to lower their costs. If we could lower our costs to free money for investment we would be more competitive."
Despite the problems, Mr Boyle said he was determined to keep Crosslee in West Yorkshire.
"At the moment, we are competitive," he said.
"We are changing the way we work to become even more competitive and efficient and while we are making profits we don't need to consider moving offshore."
Crosslee takes on seasonal staff to cope with rising demand for dryers as winter approaches.
The independent firm - formed in 1986 - makes 600,000 dryers a year, including its UK market leading White Knight brand, and exports more than half of them to 75 countries, including ones in Europe, South America and the Far East.
It also makes more than 30,000 domestic fires under the Royal Cozyfires label and 22,000 Hostess food trolleys.
Crosslee, which has annual sales of £60m is also launching a range of fridge-freezers.
The firm's headquarters and factory occupy a 50-acre site formerly used by electrical giant Philips to make washing machines and dryers.
Crosslee founders and major shareholders David Ross and Derek Clee bought the business when Philips closed the site.