Pay increase proposed for NI agricultural workers

Farmworkers in Northern Ireland look set to be offered a 1% increase in minimum wage rates across all grades.

The rates, proposed by the Northern Ireland Agricultural Wages Board (AWB), will be implemented from 1 April 2021, providing no objections are raised.

The proposed minimum rates are:

  • First 40 weeks cumulative employment £6.95/hour
  • Grade 2 – Standard worker £7.49/hour
  • Grade 3 – Lead worker  £8.91/hour
  • Grade 4 – Craft grade £9.58/hour
  • Grade 5 – Supervisory grade £10.09/hour
  • Grade 6 – Farm management grade £10.95/hour.

See also: Covid-19 Q&A: Practical farming queries answered

The rates are set just above the national minimum wage or the national living wage. However, farmworkers will default to the national wage levels if they are increased above the agricultural rates during the year.

The AWB will reconvene to confirm the farmworker rates or consider any objections on 12 March 2021.

Objections should be made by 5 March 2021 by emailing or sending a letter to AWB Secretariat, First Floor, Ballykelly House, 111 Ballykelly Road, Limavady, BT49 9HO. 

What is the Agricultural Wages Board?

The Northern Ireland AWB was established in 1977 to regulate wages for farmworkers.

The board comprises 15 members:

  • Three appointed by Northern Ireland’s farm minister
  • Six nominated by the Ulster Farmers’ Union as representatives of agricultural employers
  • Six nominated by Unite the Union to represent agricultural workers.