Pay rise proposed for Scotland’s farmworkers

A rise in the minimum wage for agricultural workers is being proposed by the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board (SAWB) to bring it in line with the National Minimum Wage.

If approved, the hourly rate for workers with more than 26 weeks’ continuous employment would increase by 10p to £7.24 from 1 October 2015. Overtime for these workers would rise 15p/hour to £10.86.

For workers in the first 26 weeks of employment – often temporary seasonal workers of particular relevance to the Scottish soft fruit sector – wages would increase by 20p/hour to £6.70. Overtime would rise 30p/hour to £10.05.

Apprentices on a modern apprenticeship in agriculture Level 2 would receive £4.02/hour – an increase of 6p.

Views on the proposed increases are being sought and should be sent to the SAWB secretary, Ken Gray, by 30 June 2015 at: D Spur, Saughton House, Broomhouse Drive, Edinburgh EH11 3XD. Alternatively, views can be emailed to Mr Gray at .

Based on the consultation, the SAWB will make a decision, which will be effective on 1 October 2015.

Agricultural wages board shake-up

The Scottish government is also consulting on the future of the SAWB and whether it should remain as it is, be turned into an advisory body, or cease to exist altogether.

Views on the future of the SAWB should be sent by 31 July 2015. The consultation can be accessed at

The Conservative-Lib Dem coalition abolished England’s agricultural wages board in 2013 and since then the Welsh government has set minimum wages for farmworkers under the Agricultural Sector (Wales) Act 2014.

The Welsh government is currently considering laws to protect farmworker wages until the new wages board has been created.

Northern Ireland still has an agricultural wages board, which meets three times a year.