David Stewart MSP

Archive for July 2008

David Stewart speaks out on Minimum Wage for Agricultural Workers

David Stewart, Regional Labour for the Highlands and Islands, has commented on plans by the Scottish Government to consult and possibly scrap the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board.

Mr Stewart said, “Since 1917 agricultural workers have enjoyed protection through a series of different boards, which have safeguarded their conditions of service and minimum pay rates.”

“The agricultural and food sectors are important to the Highlands and Islands and the end products are of a very high standard.

“However, the pay of the workers who are employed in the sector is frequently not high and the SAWB is presently there to protect their income and conditions of service.

“The board has been successful in this but the worry has to be that, if it was scrapped, wages would fall and the conditions of service for workers would deteriorate.

“The union “Unite” launched a campaign and petition on this issue in May of this year and have been lobbying MSPs.

“It is simply not acceptable that the present SAWB could be scrapped, leaving workers exposed.”

Mr Stewart added, “In the absence of the SAWB, and the protection it affords, it is likely that gangmasters will move in, with all that entails for wages and the health and safety of workers.

“The reported decline in available agricultural workers, caused by the migrant workers leaving the Highlands, makes the likelihood of this all the greater.”

“There is an overwhelming case for the retention of the SWAB and now, in particular, is not the time to consider its abolition.

“I have lodged parliamentary questions on this issue to put pressure on the government to retain the SAWB in its present form “

Written by davidstewart

July 12, 2008 at 9:03 am

Posted in Uncategorized