Unite's National Officer for Rural, Agricultural & Allied Workers, Ian Waddell, said: "Today's announcement spells disaster for farming in England and Wales".
"For almost a century successive governments of every political persuasion have recognised the need for the Agricultural Wages Board to regulate pay, terms and conditions in the farming industry. The Con-Dem decision to abolish it is reckless, short-sighted and ideologically driven."
"Farming is already suffering from an inability to attract and retain skilled workers. Bad employers will now undercut the good and drive a race to the bottom on pay which will exacerbate the skills shortage and threaten the viability of agriculture in England and Wales."
Unite called for consultation before any decision was taken over abolition, but none took place. Unite wrote to the Minister of State for Agriculture, Jim Paice, two weeks ago, asking for a meeting to explain the problems abolition would cause. The letter was ignored.
Mr Waddell continued: "Mr Paice says that the NFU will publish advice each year to its members to increase pay and this will suffice to protect workers. Our members will see that as a cruel joke, rooted in a view of agricultural workers as forelock tugging serfs going on bended knee to the master.
"We will vigorously campaign against abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board to protect our hard-working, highly skilled members and the future of farming in England and Wales."
Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315More Articles by Unite - the union (T&G section) ...