The Farming and Rural Issues Group for the South East (FRIGSE) has expressed its support for the Government’s proposals to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB).
In its submission, FRIGSE pointed out that the land-based sector had welcomed the Government’s commitment to abolish the AWB back in 2010 and FRIGSE is pleased that it is now consulting on the process of abolition.
In the view of FRIGSE members, in the days of the statutory minimum wage and other changes to employment legislation, the AWB looks increasingly like a throw-back and a relic of an earlier age. In fact, the vast majority of agricultural and horticultural workers are paid considerably more than the minimums prescribed by the AWB. This is because farmers and growers pay competitive rates to recruit, retain and motivate the workers they need to be successful.
The failure to move more quickly to abolition of the Board has meant that two further Agricultural Wages Orders have been made since 2010. These have been set across the board at rates higher than those applying to other sectors. It is unnecessary, counterproductive and stifling to insert and ratchet up an inflexible regulatory bar in this way against an industry which is proving successful in developing high level rewards for its workers where that is economically viable.