Labour launches rural campaign to save the Agricultural Wages Board and guarantee workers wages in Northumberland
The House of Lords will be voting on Wednesday 6 March to scrap the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) as an amendment to the part of the Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Bill.
The AWB gives a guaranteed level of wage over and above the national minimum wage. The abolition will affect 1790 workers in Northumberland and 3,360 across the North East region.
Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, today pledged to make rural wages a key part of Labour’s county council election campaign and is calling on the Government to drop plans to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board.
The Agricultural Wages Board sets fair pay levels for 152,000 fruit pickers and farm workers in England and Wales. The Government’s impact assessment says that abolishing the pay board will take £260 million out of the rural economy over 10 years through lost holiday and sick pay.
Mary will be undertaking a rural tour of Britain to campaign to protect rural wages
Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary will say:
"The Tory-led Government's abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board will lead to lower wages for farm workers and take £260 million out of village high streets over ten years.
“David Cameron’s out of touch government has delivered a bitter blow to the rural economy and to thousands of low-paid farm workers who will be worried about their pay falling. We a need a One Nation plan for the countryside to tackle the rural cost of living crisis, protect buses and public services, and invest in rural jobs and growth."
Councillor Grant Davey, Labour’s Leader at Northumberland County Council, added:
“Once again The Government is failing to stand up for hard-working families. The Government's abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board is going to unfairly penalise farm workers here in Northumberland, affecting nearly 1800 agricultural workers and damaging the County’s local economy. The Tory-Lib Dem government needs to urgently rethink what they are doing and the House of Lords should vote against this unfair measure on Wednesday.”
· The Agricultural Wages Board protects pay levels and conditions for 152,000 rural workers in England and Wales.
Total agricultural workers
Yorkshire and the Humber
East of England
South East and London
Agricultural Wages Order from 1 October 2012
Grade 1 of compulsory school age
Grade 1 above compulsory school age (farm labourer)
Grade 6 (farm manager)