Friday 9 November 2012

Rural Workers - Poverty Pay

writing to encourage all readers to support Unite’s campaign and say ‘No! to Rural Poverty’

The Coalition Government is set to scrap the Agricultural Wages Board, the industry body that has set minimum rates of pay and conditions within agriculture since 1948.

Have you ever wondered where the salad that you buy in one of Horsham’s supermarkets are grown or where many of the ornamental plants in the garden centre come from? The answer to both questions is here in West Sussex, grown by many thousands of hard working horticultural workers.

I work in horticulture and know what a rewarding career it can be, but I am also aware that horticulture has an image problem, one based on low pay and hard manual labour. Neither of these descriptions are entirely true and here in West Sussex we have one of the most efficient and productive nursery sectors in the UK. To create a sustainable future for our industry we need to attract a new generation of horticulturalists and we won’t be helped by abolishing the Wages Board, in fact it will make things a whole lot worse, as the current negotiated minimum pay rates and scales , sick pay and holidays allowances will all be lost.

The prospect of a working environment where the only guarantees are the national minimum wage and statutory sick pay is not one to be relished and will do nothing to attract new recruits into our industry.
To take part in the consultation, and to support the retention of the Wages Board visit

For more information about the campaign to save the AWB email

David Hide is technical manager on a large wholesale nursery and Unite branch organiser
10 Clarence Road, Horsham

Save the AWB

Keep farm pay national - stop the abolition of the AWB.