Defra welcomes changes to AWO

Defra has welcomed the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) for England and Wales announcement it is to take out the Agricultural Wages Order into a more user friendly format, making it easier for both workers and agricultural employers to understand their rights and obligations.

Welcoming the plans secretary of state for environment food and rural affairs  Hilary Benn said:

"The Agricultural Wages Board carries out a vital role in chairing discussions between employers and employees in agriculture and in setting minimum rates of pay.

"Whilst the vast majority of employers in agriculture provide good terms and conditions for their workers, we know that agricultural workers can sometimes be vulnerable to low pay and poor conditions, and it is important that the AWB continues its work to provide for minimum rates and standards.

"The Agricultural Wages Order will be presented in a more user-friendly format. This will make it more accessible to both workers and employers and will mean less time spent in enquiries to the Agricultural Wages Helpline."

Benn added:

"The AWB was originally set up to protect an isolated and scattered workforce, with little scope for collective bargaining.

"These conditions still exist today for many workers, as well as new problems arising from the use of seasonal migrant labour. The Government supports the continuing work of the AWB in protecting agricultural workers, regardless of their status. "

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