On Saturday 16th October I opened the Area Conference of the Rural, Agricultural and Allied Workers (RAAW) Union, which is now part of the T&G. I am very pleased to do so because my grandfathers and previous generations all worked on the land in the North of Scotland. A very hard life then and pretty tough even now.
I had time this week to do some research and this confirmed that not only do farm workers have the most fatalities of any industry but also have the highest incidence of illness (in relation to the number of employees).
I am also in favour of the Agricultural Wages Board, which sets pay across the sector. Agricultural workers are amongst the lowest paid worker in the country and I think that it’s essential that a strong mechanism for pay negotiation is in place because of the isolation of the workers. The current system also protects the rights of decent employers by ensuring their neighbours observe the same rates and conditions.
I can't stay for the conference as my Agent has promised me 500 leaflets to deliver in Claydon!