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Saturday, 22 December 2012
No Comment from Berwick MP Alan Beith
Only hours before Parliament’s closed for Christmas , the Coalition government announced its decision to scrap the Agricultural Workers Board which will, by the government’s own estimates, remove £240m from farm workers over the next 10 years.
As a Labour activist in Northumberland, home to some of Britains finest agricultural areas, I cannot believe the gall of the Coalition Government and their wholesale slashing of agricultural workers pay protection. This challenge to bring down farm hands pay was primarily Tory led but was not attacked by our own coalition member Alan Beith.
This of course is a Christmas message from the Tories and their coalition handmaidens, Crop yields have been poor this year so lets reduce the wages of those who toil in all weathers to feed the nation. Lets scrooge the working man for all he’s worth.
This removal of this protection allows employers in the farming sector to pay workers below the National Minimum Wage. At the moment, the Agricultural Workers Board protects wage levels for around 140,000 workers in the agricultural sector nationwide.
The farm workers Trade Union UNITE believe millions of pounds that should be paid to farm workers will find its way into agricultural employers pockets.
Unlike manufacturing or mining, farming can’t be offshored or stopped if employers still want to bank their Euro subsidies, but to maximise their profits further through a potential low wages scheme is wrong.