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Union calls for action to end ‘low-pay culture’ on farms

A SHORTAGE of seasonal agricultural workers could be dealt with by decisive action to end chronic low pay in the sector, farm workers’ union Unite said today.

As agricultural bosses lamented that a “massive hole” in the number of people coming to Britain to pick fruit had left some growers “on the brink,” the union called on ministers to intervene to encourage good employment practices.

Unite national officer Bev Clarkson told the Morning Star: “If pay, terms and conditions were right in agriculture then there would be UK workers available as well as migrant workers. 

“That’s the big problem – there’s massive issues because workers are extremely low paid, they don’t have any job security and are often treated badly. 

“To prevent chronic labour shortages requires not only individual employers to up their game, but for the government to implement sector-wide reforms and assistance, including reinstating the Agricultural Wages Board. 

“Not being part of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy should also mean government making the allocation of farming subsidies conditional on the creation of decent, secure jobs.” 

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