Welsh government regains power to set farm wages

The Welsh government has the power to set minimum wages for farmworkers after the Queen granted royal assent on Wednesday (30 July) to a Bill that will establish a successor to the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB).

The AWB was abolished in England and Wales by Westminster in 2013 without agreement from the Welsh government.

At the time, the then Wales’ farm minister Alun Davies said the UK government’s decision would detrimentally affect up to 13,000 agricultural workers in Wales.

See also: How to set farm wages without the AWB

He immediately tabled a Bill to protect low-paid farmworkers, which has resulted in the Agricultural Sector (Wales) Act 2014 being given royal assent this week.

A Welsh government spokeswoman said the move would retain the level of protection afforded to agricultural workers in Wales by the defunct AWB.

Assembly members must now create an Agricultural Advisory Panel for Wales and will shortly launch a 12-week public consultation on the new organisation’s proposed functions.

First minister Carwyn Jones said: “This law will safeguard agricultural workers here in Wales and strengthen the agricultural industry as a whole, as well as individual farm businesses.”