The Welsh government is considering new laws to protect the earnings of 13,000 agricultural workers because the introduction of a wages board has been delayed.
Since the Tories abolished the Agricultural Wages Board in 2013 the government in Wales has set minimum wages for farmworkers under the Agricultural Sector (Wales) Act 2014.
This is a short-term measure because a proposed body to review farmworker wages – the Agricultural Advisory Panel for Wales – cannot be created until after a consultation closes later this year.
Wales’ farm minister, Rebecca Evans, is now considering whether an order should be created in the interim and is seeking the views of the industry. This latest consultation will run until 3 August.
“We are committed to ensuring that workers in the agricultural sector receive fair pay which reflects the importance of their contribution to our overall economy together with the experience and skills they possess,’’ she said.
“Any interim agricultural wages order would remain in force until the panel is convened and able to propose its own agricultural wages order.”
The AWB was abolished in England and Wales by Westminster in 2013 without agreement from the Welsh government.
The farm minister at that time, Alun Davies, immediately tabled a Bill to protect low-paid farmworkers, which has resulted in the Agricultural Sector (Wales) Act 2014 being made law.