Workplace Report June 2007

Bargaining news

Farm deal pegs lowest paid to minimum wage

The T&G section of the Unite general union is currently conducting a six-week consultation with its agricultural members over a pay offer of 4.5%.

The Agricultural Wages Board, which sets the pay of nearly 150,000 farm workers and staff, has agreed a rise which will take most workers to £6 an hour and craft workers to £7.08 from 1 October.

Those on the basic entry rate will not do so well as their pay will be pegged to the national minimum wage and will increase by 3.2% to £5.52. However, the union has won assurances that this will not be a permanent arrangement.

The board has also set up working parties to look at the union's demand for a farm workers' pension scheme and to deal with the issue of exploitation of migrant workers through excessive charges for multi-occupancy accommodation.

The T&G's national secretary for agriculture, Chris Kaufman, said: "We are reasonably satisfied with this outcome, which keeps pace with inflation, but will keep the pressure on to put farm and horticultural pay on the a new and higher level and end the low pay culture."