- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Joyce Watson AM has sought urgent assurances that Welsh farm workers’ wages will be protected when the Agricultural Wages Board in Wales is abolished.
The Labour Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales has written to the Minister for Rural Affairs expressing her deep concern that farm workers could be left with no guarantee of earning a fair wage if the abolition takes place before National Minimum Wage legislation is extended to protect farm workers.
Mrs Watson said: “Our Welsh farm workers are some of our most vulnerable low paid workers. Some work out in all weathers to put food on our tables, craftsmen provide vital services and bring tourism into our rural areas, and they all deserve a decent wage.
“Moreover, if these jobs do not offer basic minimum wages, this could have a huge impact on our rural economy, as people are forced to move away to make a living.
“I am asking the Minister to do everything she can to press the UK government to guarantee basic pay protection for our farm workers.
“It is typical of the new ConDem government’s attacks on the weakest that they have prioritised cutting this service for the low paid. As their divisive cuts agenda becomes clear it is becoming increasingly important for statutory protections to be in place.
“Labour introduced the National Minimum Wage in the face of virulent Tory opposition. Now, with LibDem support, we are seeing them attempt to dismantle fundamental tools of decency like the Wages Board.
“I challenge Stephen Crabb MP and Welsh Conservative leader Nick Bourne to disown this action, and to join our call for National Minimum Wage protection to be given to our farm workers.”