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Friday, 19 October 2012

Speak up on the future of the Agricultural Wages Board

This post follows one we wrote in July, in which we wondered out loud what was holding up the Government's plans to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board.

Almost three months on, there has been some movement. The Government has issued a consultation on the future of the AWB. A consultation was always likely; it does not mean that a U-turn is on the cards.

However, consultations have an uncanny knack of influencing decisions and timetables. That is the general idea, after all. So, whatever your views, let Defra know about them. The full consultation is here.

It asks just 4 questions:-

1. Do you agree that employment legislation in the agriculture sector should be simplified? If not, please give your reasons.

2. Do you agree that agricultural workers in England and Wales should be brought within the same minimum employment terms and conditions as workers in all other sectors of the economy? If not, please give your reasons why you believe there should still be a separate regime for agriculture.

3. Do you agree with the Government’s proposal to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board, Agricultural Wages Committees, Agricultural Dwelling House Advisory Committees, and the agricultural minimum wage regime? If not, please give your reason why you disagree?

4. Do you have any additional points or options you would like Ministers to consider before making their final decision?

Answers can be sent by e-mail to The deadline is 12 November.

Meanwhile, employers who are taking on workers between now and the abolition of the Board should definitely take advice about whether, and how, they should be amending their standard contracts in view of the likely move into an AWO-free landscape. Action now could mean greater flexibility further down the line.

Contact Phil Cookson for information. He's on 01733 898970.