Labour will boost the pay of rural workers, Jeremy Corbyn tells Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival today.
Labour will boost the pay of rural workers by reinstating an Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) for English workers, the Labour leader will say at the labour movement festival, which marks the deportation of six agricultural workers for organising for better pay in the 1830s and the successful campaign that saw them freed and pardoned.
After Brexit a Labour government will reinstate the Board abolished in 2013 at an estimated cost of £149 million to the wages of rural workers, Mr Corbyn is to say.
A reinstated AWB for English workers will ensure rural workers are entitled to minimum rates of pay which may be higher than the National Minimum Wage, paid holiday, sick pay and rest breaks.
Alongside other Labour policies, including free bus travel for under-25s – linked to councils taking bus services under public ownership or introducing franchising models – and guaranteeing full employment rights for all workers from day one, Labour believes the reintroduced AWB will be a major step towards reducing rising inequality in rural economies and across Britain.
Reinstating the Board, which was originally established by Clement Attlee’s Labour government in 1948, forms part of Labour’s plan to raise workers’ wages by restoring sectoral collective bargaining.
“Almost 200 years after the Tolpuddle Martyrs bravely stood against the exploitation of employers paying poverty wages, Labour is committed to reintroducing the Agricultural Wages Board and increasing pay and fundamental rights for all agricultural workers.
“This decision will bring back millions of pounds to workers across the English countryside, in addition to guaranteed paid holiday, sick pay, and rest breaks.
“Rural workers have been consistently ignored by the Tories. The south-west is the low pay capital of the UK. Here, and across the English countryside, agricultural workers have been abandoned by the shameful decision to scrap the Agricultural Wages Board.
“The struggle of the Tolpuddle Martyrs sowed the seed for the modern trade union movement and the Labour Party itself. The best way to honour that noble struggle is not just to remember why it took place, but to secure in our time what those workers fought for: the right to fair pay and decent working conditions.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.