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Gildernew defends decision to retain Agricultural Wages Board

15 October, 2007

Michelle Gildernew, MP MLA, the Sinn Féin Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development has expressed disappointment at the Ulster's Farmers Unions recent criticism of her decision to retain the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB).

The Minister said:

"I am disappointed at the UFU's criticism of my decision to retain the AWB, which protects the rights of employees not represented by UFU, and do not accept the argument surrounding the associated red tape. On the contrary I am committed to reducing 'red tape' and have set a target to reduce bureaucracy by 25 percent by 2013. The AWB protects the rights of agricultural workers, including wage rates greater than those provided by National Minimum Wage.

"The abolition of the AWB would place agricultural workers in the North at a disadvantage when compared with workers elsewhere and in the absence of an alternative mechanism to protect the rights of agricultural employees, in line with the equality agenda; I have decided to retain the Board. This will also ensure that the rights of migrant workers and minority communities are protected." ENDS

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