New claim that wages board has ‘outlived usefulness’

NFU Scotland chief executive Scott Walker. Picture: Contributed

NFU Scotland chief executive Scott Walker. Picture: Contributed

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Further evidence emerged yesterday that the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board – the last remaining such organisation – had outlived its useful life came with a joint announcement from Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) and NFU Scotland.

Both welcomed the decision to align the date of annual changes with those of the national minimum wage and national living wage. From now on, changes to all three will come into effect on 1 April each year.

Katy Dickson, senior policy officer at SLE, and NFU Scotland chief executive Scott Walker said in a joint statement: “Our members welcome this common sense approach, which avoids six-monthly changes each and every year to the agricultural wage rates.

“However, 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.”

READ MORE: Living wage ‘could make strawberries unaffordable’

While there have been no agricultural wages negotiations this year, employers and employees have been reminded that the minimum rate of pay for agricultural workers cannot fall below either the national minimum wage or the national living wage.

With effect from 1 October, the national minimum wage for all workers aged up to and including 24 years of age – and in the first 26 weeks of employment – will rise from its current level of £6.70 per hour to £6.95. That means, in effect, that there will be a new minimum agricultural wage rate from that date.

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