Wage negotiations start as farmworkers seek 6% pay increase

Are you a farm worker? What do you think of these proposals? Or are you an employer? Could you cope with a 6% pay increase? Tell us what you think on the forums. 

Talks to determine the pay, terms and conditions of nearly 150,000 farm workers in England and Wales will commence on Tuesday (15 May).

The Transport and General Workers Union will be leading the employees’ side at the Agricultural Wages Board and seeking a 6% pay rise.

The NFU will represent employers in the negotiations.

Speaking ahead of the three day talks Chris Kaufman, T&G section of Unite national secretary for agriculture, said decent pay was the key to unlock the door to younger people.

“Our claim on pay will take the standard rate to just over £6 an hour and the ‘entry’ rate for new starters to just over the national minimum wage,” he said.

“I would certainly say those figures are modest in the light of inflation pushing five per cent.”

Mr. Kaufman said the union will be saying to the Wages Board that labour costs in agriculture fell by 5% last year as productivity rose and that labour now accounts for only 14% of all costs.

“When farmers complain they’re losing subsidies they fail to say, as these figures show, that it is labour which is now subsidising the employers,” claimed Mr. Kaufman.

Are you a farm worker? What do you think of these proposals? Or are you an employer? Could you cope with a 6% pay increase? Tell us what you think on the forums.