Liberal Democrat MPs, representing rural seats with a large number of agricultural workers, will be lobbied in a Commons battle to save the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB).
Unite, the country’s largest union, believes that Lib Dem MPs in such areas as the West Country hold the key in stopping the coalition’s plans to abolish the AWB which would severely hit the incomes of 150,000 agricultural workers in England and Wales.
Unite will be mounting an intensive lobbying campaign in the run-up to the crucial Commons vote on the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform bill.
Unite national officer for agriculture Julia Long said: “Liberal Democrat MPs in rural areas with small majorities should listen to their agricultural worker constituents.
“The calls for the AWB’s demise are coming from agri-business and the supermarkets intent on boosting profits, while driving down the pay of agricultural workers to poverty levels.
“We are mobilising parliamentary support to halt the AWB’s abolition which has set agricultural workers’ pay since the second world war.”
Unite is campaigning against the AWB’s abolition and said that 60 per cent of responses to the government’s consultation were in favour of retention. In its own submission, Unite had argued that supermarkets - and the growers who supply them - were behind moves to abolish the AWB in order to drive down labour costs.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
- 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.