Agricultural wage negotiations delayed in Scotland
This means that no new Agricultural Wages Order will now be published until April 1, 2017.
NFU Scotland and Scottish Land and Estates, which represent employers and landowners, have welcomed the delay and called for the Wage Board to be dismantled, claiming it is “no longer required”.
The Scottish government decided to retain its wage board when the Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition government scrapped the English Agricultural Wages Board in 2013.
The Wage Board meets twice a year to discuss wages, sick pay and holiday entitlements and other conditions for farm workers in Scotland.
The board is comprised of a chair, four independent members and six members each from employers’ groups (NFUS and Scottish Land and Estates) and trade union Unite (which represents workers).
The board usually meets in June to negotiate changes, so that new pay rates and changes to minimum conditions come into effect at the same time as changes to the National Minimum Wage (1st October).
However, the government’s National Living Wage - not to be confused with the Living Wage, which is the independently calculated rate required to keep workers out of poverty - will be introduced in April, so Wage Board negotiations have been changed to coincide with the shift.
In a joint statement, Scottish Land & Estates’ senior policy officer Katy Dickson and Scott Walker, Chief Executive at NFU Scotland, said, “We believe this situation once again is an indication that, while the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board used to serve a valuable purpose, it is now no longer required.
“It is an unnecessary extra layer of bureaucracy, which can lead to confusion for both employers and employees.” ■