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ALP welcomes announcement to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board

ALP welcomes announcement to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board
The Association of Labour Providers (ALP) welcomes yesterdays announcement by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman to begin work to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board in England and Wales.
The ALP has long campaigned for the abolition of the agricultural minimum wage (AMW) and had previously written to Defra detailing eight reasons why this should be done
? There is no logical reason why there should be separate arrangements for a minimum wage in only one sector, which has no unique characteristics justifying special arrangements.
? There is no natural boundary between work subject to the AMW and the National Minimum Wage (NMW). As a result, the current arrangements cause absurdities and distort behaviour.
? The AMW is unnecessarily complicated which makes it difficult to understand and to operate, particularly when the same workers may be subject to AMW and NMW regulations in the same working period.
? The AMW is widely ignored by farmers enforcement by Defra is complaint driven and very small scale. By contrast, large scale labour providers licensed by the GLA are subject to compliance checks.
? There are good legal grounds for arguing that the AMW arrangements cannot be applied to most workers supplied by agencies.
? The arrangements, if applied, work to the disadvantage of many workers by denying them the opportunity to work the hours they want.
? Unifying the arrangements for minimum wage would be in line with the governments policy of rationalisation of regulation and reducing administrative burdens.
The abolition of the agricultural minimum wage and the plethora of bureaucracy surrounding it will allow for harmonisation of employment terms with all other workers in England and Wales and reduce the burden of regulation on farmers and labour providers.

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