For 64 years, the Agricultural Wages Board has set the wages and conditions for farm workers across England and Wales. Without this protection, farm workers would be worse off – and so would the local economy, with wages pushed down and living standards of working people hit.
The Tories and Lib Dems voted for its abolition last year and it remains under threat. Somerton and Frome MP, David Heath, as Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, covers Agricultural Wages.
152,000 farm workers in England and Wales would be affected by the abolition of the AWB; 23,460 of these in the South West. Over 1,000 of them in each of Bridgwater and West Somerset and Somerton and Frome constituencies.
Write to your MP at the House of Commons, asking her or him to reconsider the abolition of the AWB for England and Wales, and to Members of the House of Lords who will be considering the matter as a late Government amendment (28ZK) to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.
The abolition has only been delayed thanks to the action of Labour members of the House of the Lords.
“The National Minimum Wage was a flagship achievement of the last Labour Government,” says Labour candidate for Wincanton and Bruton, Tim Daniel. “Labour in Somerset will be campaigning for the Living Wage at County Hall, and will learn the lessons from Labour councils and businesses across the country, which have successfully introduced it. Not only does the Living Wage make life better for families and puts money into the local economy, businesses have said that it saves them money, has reduced turnover of staff, and lowered sickness absence. It is fair – and economic sense.”
“In the meantime, we will be campaigning to save the Agricultural Wages Board and ensure some continuing protection for farm workers”