Farmworkers in Northern Ireland to get 2% pay rise

Farmworkers in Northern Ireland are set to get a 2% pay rise in April, taking the rate for a standard worker to £7.05/hour.

The Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) for Northern Ireland has proposed to increase existing minimum rates for agricultural workers across all grades by 2% from 6 April 2016, with a rise in the accommodation offset to a maximum of £34/week.

If a farmworker is provided housing for free as part of their job, the accommodation offset is added to their pay.

See also: 2015 Farmers Weekly pay and careers survey results

The minimum rate, applicable for the first 40 weeks of cumulative employment, will be £6.76/hour.

The other rates will be as follows:

  • Grade 2 – Standard worker: £7.05/hour
  • Grade 3 – Lead worker: £7.74/hour
  • Grade 4 – Craft grade: £8.31/hour
  • Grade 5 – Supervisory grade: £8.80/hour
  • Grade 6 – Farm management grade: £9.53/hour

The board has asked for any objections to the proposals to be sent by registered post to: The Secretary, Agricultural Wages Board, Room 917, Dundonald House, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast BT4 3SB, to arrive on or before Friday 26 February 2016.

Board members will meet again on 11 March 2016 to make an order to introduce the new rates.

Pay rise for Welsh farmworkers

Meanwhile, an Interim Agricultural Wages Order is expected to come in to force in Wales in mid-February, which will result in the first increase in farm wages in Wales since 2012.

The order will increase statutory pay levels for agricultural workers in Wales by about 6%.

This will take the Grade 1 rate to £6.72/hour, which is 2p above the current national minimum wage.

The minimum wage for farmworkers in Scotland with more than 26 weeks’ service rose to £7.24/hour on 1 October 2015.

England is the only country in the UK that no longer operates an AWB to decide minimum pay rates for farmworkers.