Labour led the fight to save the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) from being abolished in Parliament on Tuesday 25 October.
Shadow Environment Secretary Mary Creagh wrote to all Lib Dems and Tory MPs with over 500 agricultural workers in their constituency urging them to stand up for their constituents by voting for Labour's amendment to the Public Bodies Bill which would have removed the AWB from the legislation. She also joined Unite the Union and rural workers from across the country at a demonstration outside Parliament. Labour's amendment was defeated in the Commons by 296 votes 219 after Lib Dem MPs voted with the Tories.
Mary said "The AWB ensures that 152,000 agricultural workers in England and Wales are paid fairly. It is a partnership between industry and unions to set pay and conditions for people working in agriculture. It sets overtime rates, rates for night work, standby allowances, sick pay, bereavement leave and holiday entitlement. It has worked well for over six decades.
"The government estimates that abolishing the AWB will take £9 million a year out of workers' pockets (through lost holiday and sick pay) and out of the rural economy and rural businesses. 42,000 casual workers will receive a pay cut next year when this year’s wages order runs out and they start a new job. Children who currently receive £3.05p an hour are not covered by National Minimum Wage and so will have no wage protection when they do holiday or weekend work.
"Removing these rights from low paid workers at a time when rural families are feeling the squeeze from rising gas and petrol bills shows a government that is out of touch with the needs of the countryside."
Read Mary's article published in advance of the vote here
Read further coverage here: tinyurl.com/6d9j25p