Anger at Agriculture Board decision
Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has strongly criticized a decision by the committee of the Office of the First and Deputy First and Deputy First Minister to endorse the abolition of the Agricultural Wages board.
"As a member of the OFMDFM committee, I made the objections of Sinn Féin known in the strongest possible terms," said the party's Equality and Human Rights spokesperson.
"Although the committee decided not to heed those objections, this is not the end of the matter and Sinn Féin will continue to resist this move at every step as it moves through the Assembly.
"Many of our farm workers are among the lowest paid workers in the north and it is essential that they have the strongest of legal protections.
"In many cases those who are on the lowest wages are migrant workers and the Agricultural Wages Board provides a vital service in terms of protecting their rights and entitlements.
"It is our view that abolition of the board would place these workers at a disadvantage when compared with workers elsewhere on these islands.
"I do not believe that it is in the interests of the agricultural industry to allow the North to become, as suggested by the ATGWU, the 'sweatshop' for agricultural workers on these islands.
"Therefore, we are not prepared to sacrifice the rights of low paid workers or the protection of migrants because of the lobbying of employers or because of the partisan position of some assembly members.
"While everyone involved in farming wants to see red tape cut this should not be at the expense of the low paid." CRÍOCH