13 August 2001
Farmers fight child tractor driver ban

By FWi staff

FARMERS leaders plan to lobby against a new employment laws which will ban children under 16 from driving tractors, reports The Times.

The measure will raise the age at which children can undertake hazardous work on farms from 13 to 16 and in some cases to 18.

This will affect family farms where it is traditional for young teenagers to help their parents.

Ministers must consider the change after the United Nations International Labour Organisation produced a convention on farm safety to tackle child labour.

An exemption is allowed those aged 16 to 17 to carry out some work after appropriate prior training, but there is no provision for those aged 13 to 15.

National Farmers Union employment and education committee chairman Bob Fiddaman said the union would push for exemptions.

He added: The people who will be affected by this are on family farms where its traditional for children to be involved, from collecting chickens eggs to mucking out a horses stables.

Its not a case of us needing child labour to run farms, he insisted.

In an editorial the newspaper says it is absurd for to stop all children under the age of 16 from driving tractors.

It poses fewer dangers than mucking out a bad-tempered horse — or saying boo to a goose, claims The Times.

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