House of Lords to vote on future of Agricultural Wages Board

House of Lords to vote on future of Agricultural Wages Board

05 March 2013

A crucial vote in the House of Lords tomorrow on the Agricultural Wages Board could affect the livelihoods of 150,000 agricultural workers in England and Wales.

Farm workers, members of the Unite union, will be briefing peers at 12.30 in the House of Lords ahead of the vote tomorrow, Wednesday 6 March.

The Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) sets minimum rates of pay and other conditions covering sick pay, holiday entitlement, tied housing and many other employment provisions.

The government proposes to abolish the AWB, despite a majority of those who responded to a consultation supporting the AWB's retention.

Steve Leniec is a farm worker from Oxfordshire who chairs Unite's rural and agricultural workers committee. He said: "The government is calling the AWB a relic from a bygone era. In reality it has been an effective mechanism for collective bargaining since 1948, has ensured the good industrial relations vital in an industry where employer and employee work side by side, and has safeguarded in law the pay and conditions for hundreds of thousands of rural workers.

"These workers will see their wages plummet if the AWB is abolished, just at a time when we need to support a rural living wage and ensure our nation's food security with pay and conditions that will attract more young people into the industry.

"We are hoping that the Lords will support the AWB at the Report stage tomorrow and keep the hopes of rural communities alive."


For further information please contact Jody Whitehill, Unite campaigns officer on 07768 693956 or Bridget Henderson on 07761 702 085
Notes to editors:

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.