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Agricultural Wages Board outcome does not reflect realities of sector

by 5m Editor
18 May 2007, at 11:44am

UK - The NFU has expressed disappointment at the outcome of the Agricultural Wages Board over the conditions underpinning the 2007 Agricultural Wages Order, which it feels does not reflect the economic realities of the sector.

The decision by the board will lead to a 3.2 per cent increase in the statutory pay rate for grade one workers, in line with increases in the national minimum wage, and a 4.5 per cent increase in the statutory rates for workers covered by grades two to six. No other substantive issues were agreed on. The new order will come into force on October 1.

Bob Fiddaman, NFU employment spokesman, said: “We are disappointed and believe that the final decision does not reflect the level of increases being granted in other areas of the economy or the economic situation of the sector. Unfortunately we have been negotiating at a time of high inflation rates and we believe that fact, together with the independent members of the board making the final decision, played the decisive part in this outcome.”

As a result of the increases, the new statutory minimum rates are:
  • Grade One: £5.52 per hour
  • Grade Two: £6 per hour
  • Grade Three: £6.60 per hour
  • Grade Four: £7.08 per hour
  • Grade Five: £7.50 per hour
  • Grade Six: £8.10 per hour

After two days of negotiations, the partners failed to reach an agreement and the final decision was the result of the vote of the independent members of the board.

The overall cost to the farming industry remains difficult to quantify at this stage but is estimated to be in the region of £50 million. The rise in the industry wage bill will be between 3.9 per cent and 4.4 per cent depending on the extent to which the increases impact on wages already above requirements.

5m Editor