Scottish Land & Estates, which represents farmers and landowners across Scotland, has said the proposed rise in the minimum wage rate for agricultural workers takes account of the challenges facing the farming sector.
The Scottish Agricultural Wages Board (SAWB), upon which Scottish Land & Estates are represented, has proposed that the minimum rate of pay for agricultural workers with more than 26 weeks continuous employment will increase by 10p (1.4%) per hour to £7.24 from October. It is proposed the rate for those in less than 26 weeks continuous employment is raised to £6.70 to remain in line with national minimum wage.
Views are being sought by the Scottish Government on the proposed increases until June 30, 2015.
Scottish Land & Estates said the continuing uncertainty in farming, caused by the wider economic climate as well as other issues within the sector, meant that the increase was appropriate at the current time.
Katy Dickson, Policy Officer (Business and Property), said: “We are very supportive of the proposed rise in the minimum agricultural wage. It has undoubtedly been a tough time for the industry and the wages board has recognised the overall position.
“At a level of a 1.4 per cent, the rise reflects the current low inflation rate as well as the uncertainties and challenges that many in the agricultural sector are currently facing. Whilst there is certainly a desire to increase agricultural wages, unfortunately many farm businesses are not in a position of strength to implement a larger rise.
“We also welcome the consultation on the future of the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board (SAWB). We are currently consulting our members but with the National Minimum Wage and the Working Time Regulations to protect workers we believe there is a strong case to abolish the SAWB.”