23 July 2018
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the Tolpuddle Festival yesterday (Sunday 22 July) that his party would bring back the Agricultural Wages Board (AGW).
The AGW was scrapped in 2013 by the Coalition Government, at which point the government’s own impact assessment found the move would reduce the earnings of rural workers by £149m.
“Almost 200 years after the Tolpuddle Martyrs bravely stood against the exploitation of employers paying poverty wages, Labour is committed to reintroducing the Agricultural Wages Board and increasing pay and fundamental rights for all agricultural workers,” Corbyn said.
“This decision will bring back millions of pounds to workers across the English countryside, in addition to guaranteed paid holiday, sick pay, and rest breaks.”
The Institute of Employment Rights, in our Manifesto for Labour Law (25 recommendations for reform that have been adopted by the Labour Party as a blueprint for future employment law) recommends that all industries are provided with a Sectoral Employment Commission (SEC) that would set wages and conditions across entire sectors.
SECs would consist of equal numbers of representatives for both employers and workers, as well as a lesser number of government officials, and would negotiate for pay and condition floors to form a Sectoral Collective Agreement (SCA). This SCA could then be built upon through further employer and worker negotiations at enterprise level.