3.5% pay rise on the cards for Northern farm workers

The Agricultural Wages Board for Northern Ireland has announced proposed increases to the minimum wage rates for agricultural workers.

Following a meeting on January 12, 2018, the board proposes to increase existing minimum rates for agricultural workers for grades two to six by 3.5% from April 1, 2018.

Currently the rate for a standard worker sits at £7.17 an hour.

In addition, the accommodation offset will rise to a maximum of £37 per week.

The proposed new rates are:

  • Minimum rate, applicable for the first 40 weeks of cumulative employment – £6.88 per hour;
  • Grade 2 – Standard worker £7.42 per hour;
  • Grade 3 – Lead worker £8.16 per hour;
  • Grade 4 – Craft grade £8.76 per hour;
  • Grade 5 – Supervisory grade £9.26 per hour;
  • Grade 6 – Farm management grade £10.04 per hour.

The board will meet again on March 9, 2018 to consider any objections to the proposals and may make an order to give effect to the new rates and other amendments which would come into operation on April 1, 2018.

Any objections to the above proposals should be sent to: The Secretary, Agricultural Wages Board, Room 917, Dundonald House, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast BT4 3SB, to arrive on or before Friday February 23, 2018.

The definitions for the grades and the qualifications required for each grade are available online.

The Agricultural Wages Board was established under the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) (Northern Ireland) Order 1977 and meets each year to consider changes to the rates of pay and related conditions for agricultural workers.

The board consists of 15 members:

  • Three members appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), one of whom is chairman of the board;
  • Six members nominated by the Ulster Farmers’ Union as representatives of agricultural employers;
  • Six members nominated by Unite the Union as representatives of agricultural workers’ interests.