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This ludicrous red-tape will be final straw for some, reports NPA

by 5m Editor
20 September 2006, at 10:04am

UK - Agricultural Wages Board's bolt-on bid to require employers to calculate holiday pay on the basis of gross actual earning for all hours worked has prompted an angry response from producer Richard Longthorp.

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"At a time when government is supposed to be reducing bureaucracy and red tape, such ludicrous, unjustified and complex proposals simply confirm my view that the Agricultural Wages Board should be scrapped at the earliest opportunity and replaced by a body that looks much more constructively and proactively at the whole relationship between employers and employees, how personal development and career progression can be encouraged and how, as a consequence, the whole industry can become more sustainable," he says in a letter to the Agricultural Wages Board.

The board has said that if pay varies from week to week it should be averaged out over the previous 12 weeks before the holiday. This applies to voluntary overtime so impacts on most sectors with peak working time periods. This means:

  • Wage bills could increase for regular workers by as much as 1- 2%.
  • This is over and above the negotiated increase agreed in June.
  • Increases costs for all employers, particularly after peak periods such as harvest.
  • It will discriminate between workers on the same farm.
  • It will be difficult to calculate holiday pay entitlement, and add to administration costs.
  • It exceeds the requirements of the Working Time Directive.

"This imposition of the proposals on holiday pay will add a degree of complexity and opportunity for error that far outweighs any potential advantages," says Richard Longthorp.

"Furthermore it will add a compulsion on irrecoverable costs that will be the final straw for some businesses that may already be struggling – not necessarily from financial pressures but from bureaucratic overload.

"When will you people realise that working farmers can only cope with so much of this nonsense before they finally throw the towel in and your grand plans completely backfire when people ultimately leave or have to leave the industry?"

ThePigSite News Desk

5m Editor