The Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) for Northern Ireland has proposed increases of 5% to the minimum wage rates for workers.

The board has proposed to increase these wages for agricultural workers grades three to six, from April 1, 2022.

The new wages would be as follows:

Grade two: Standard worker£7.49/hour
Grade three: Lead worker£9.36/hour
Grade four: Craft grade£10.06/hour
Grade five: Supervisory grade£10.59/hour
Grade six: Farm management grade£11.50/hour

Minimum rate, applicable for the first 40 weeks cumulative employment, would be £6.95/hour.

Should the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage, as applicable, become higher than the hourly rates set out above then the hourly or other minimum rate will default to the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage – whichever applies.

The board also propose to increase the accommodation offset by 5% to £47.25/week.

The board will meet again on March 16, to consider any objections to the proposals and make an order to give effect to the new rates and other amendments which would come into operation on April 1, 2022.

Any objections to these proposals should be sent to the AWB Secretariat before March 11.

The Agricultural Wages Board

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 appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, one of whom is chair of the board (one position is currently vacant); six of which are nominated by the Ulster Farmers’ Union as representatives of agricultural employers; and six of which are nominated by Unite the Union as representatives of agricultural workers’ interests.