Unite holds demonstration today in agriculture minister’s constituency

Tim Lezard

Agricultural Wages Board demoTrade unionists from across the West Country are today lobbying agriculture minister David Heath as Unite intensifies its campaign in the run-up to MPs voting on the future of the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB).

Protestors will be driving home their message for the AWB’s retention, which protects the incomes of 150,000 agricultural workers, when they lobby outside David Heath’s constituency surgery between 10 and 11.30 am today.

The surgery will be held in The Library, Justice Lane, Frome, Somerset BA11 1BE.

Unite will be mounting an intensive lobbying campaign in the run-up to the crucial Commons vote on the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform bill on April 16th – and points out that David Heath, the MP for Somerton and Frome, had previously expressed his support for the AWB’s retention.

Unite national officer for agriculture Julia Long said: “David Heath is being lobbied as he is responsible for driving through the proposed abolition of the AWB, having previously supported for it.

“The crunch vote on the AWB is on April 16th – when MPs vote on whether to maintain the AWB which has been effective in the last 65 years in protecting the incomes of some of the lowest paid workers in the country.

“Unite will be campaigning strongly in the run-up to the vote to retain the AWB. Supermarkets and the growers, who supply them, are behind the AWB’s abolition proposal as they want to drive down workers’ wages to poverty levels.”

Unite has said that 60% of responses to the government’s consultation on the AWB’s future were in favour of retention.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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