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

The board has also proposed to increase existing minimum rates for all grades by 6% from April 1, 2024.

Therefore, the current rates and the proposed new minimum rates are:

  • Grade 1 – applicable for the first 40 weeks cumulative employment – £7.54 to £7.99/hour;
  • Grade 2 – Standard worker – £8.13 to £8.62/hour;
  • Grade 3 – Lead worker – £10.16 to £10.77/hour;
  • Grade 4 – Craft grade – £10.92 to £11.58/hour;
  • Grade 5 – Supervisory grade – £11.49 to £12.18/hour;
  • Grade 6 – Farm M=management grade – £12.48 to £13.23/hour.

If the national minimum wage or the national living wage, as applicable, becomes higher than the hourly proposed new rates, then the hourly or other minimum wage will default to the national minimum wage or national living wage, whichever applies.

The AWB will meet again on March 22, 2024, to consider any objections to the proposals.

Afterwards, the board will make an order to give effect to the new rates and other amendments which would come into operation on April 1, 2024.

The AWB was established under the terms of the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) (Northern Ireland) Order 1977, to regulate the minimum rates of wages, and other related matters, for workers in agriculture.

The board consists of 15 members, three of which are appointed by the agriculture, environment and rural affairs minister including the chair of the board.

Six members are nominated by the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) as representatives of agricultural employers and six members are nominated by Unite the Union as representatives of agricultural workers’ interests.