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Attendance

Lionel Walford – Chair
Peter Rees – Independent
Ivan Monckton – Unite
Daryl Williams – Unite
Darren Williams – FUW
Will Prichard – NFU Cymru
Helen Snow – Geldards

Welsh Government:

Ryan Davies (Panel Manager) Spencer Conlon
Dan Ricketts (Secretariat)

Apologies

Steve Hughson – Independent

Agenda Item 1 – Welcome

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. Apologies had been received from Steve Hughson.

Agenda Item 2 – Chair’s Update

LANTRA has submitted a consultation document to review all the land based qualifications. It does not specifically affect the Panel but may be of interest.
The Chair and Ryan attended a workshop on fair work. Things to note:

  • Welsh Government does not have the legislative power to enforce some of the aspirations the Fair Work Commission have put forward.
  • Signing up to the principles of the Commission’s report will be used as one of the criteria during the tender process for contracts with the Welsh Government.

Agenda Item 3 – Approval of Minutes of the Last Meeting and Action Points

No changes to the record were made and the minutes were approved. Updates were given on the Action Points not on the agenda:

  • It is not possible for any questions to be added to the Farm Business Survey with regard to obtaining any Labour Market Data. The Panel were agreed that a solution needs to be found as there needs to be a safeguard that Impact Assessment undertaken is based on sufficient data that does not invalidate the changes the Panel wish to make in 2021. It was agreed ADAS will be asked for their methodology and whether they feel a further commission could give the Panel some workable data.
  • Interactive tools on the website are still being considered
  • The National Minimum Wage / National Living Wage rates for 2020 have not yet been published and probably will not until after the General Election (13th December 2019). The minimum agricultural wage rates cannot be finalised until the NMW / NLW figures are known. The Panel held a discussion around the way forward but all agreed no meaningful discussion can take place without the actual figures.
  • The average length of time taken to complete an Apprenticeship is still being looked at. The information will be provided as soon as possible.

Agenda Item 4 – Fair Work Wales Report

There are two recommendations for the Panel to consider from the Fair Work Commissions report.

  • Recommendation 7a (removal of age bands) – this will be discussed during the Modernisation Process
  • Recommendation 7b (feasibility of moving to Welsh Living Wage within 3 years) – all parties agreed into looking at a feasibility study however it was stated agriculture is a different industry to other sectors so have to be careful wages are not pushed too far as it could have a negative impact with farmers “downsizing” and doing more of the work themselves.

The Chair said the data required to examine the feasibility of adopting the Welsh Living Wage in agriculture is the same kind of data required to look at any new grade structure.

Agenda Item 5 – Modernisation of the Wages Order from 2021

(a) Gant Chart (Timeline)

2020 Order – things are still on track however the NMW / NLW wage rates could have an effect on this.

2021 Order – the panel need to finish their views on modernisation by the end of January 2020.

(b) Re-Banding of the Current Agricultural Grades

Unite presented a 2nd proposal on the re-banding of the current grades which was discussed by the Panel. It was agreed the next step is for mapping to be undertaking of both proposals with regard to NMW / NLW / Apprenticeship rules. This would be done before the next meeting where a final decision would be taken by the Panel.

(c) Accommodation Offset Allowance

Under NMW / NLW legislation the UK Government sets an allowance of £7.55 per day. The offset in the Order is currently £1.50 per week (for a house) or £4.82 per day (for other accommodation). It was suggested the Panel should be working towards the NMW/NLW figure. It was countered that this would result in the equivalent of a £40 wage cut per week.
It was asked if the wording (if not the rates) of the NMW legislation be implemented within the Order to make it consistent with other sectors. This will be provided at the next meeting.

(d) Agricultural Sick Pay and Holiday Entitlement

The relevant articles had been reworded for the 2020 Order. All the Panel agreed with the clarification for 2020 and beyond.

(e) On-Call Allowance and Night Work Allowance

There was still some confusion over what was paid when and is deemed to be too complex. It needs to be made simpler – certainly in the printed guidance. This will be reworded and some examples will be given to help clarify the process.

Agenda Item 6 – Response to ALP Document from Consultation

Many of the issues raised by the Association of Labour Providers in response to the consultation document are either clear under the Agricultural Sector (Wales) Act 2014 / Agricultural Wages Order or come under the modernisation agenda so will be considered by the Panel in due course.

One issue which has arisen is on Welsh Government policy with regard to cross border working. This will be looked at to clarify the policy as it may affect agricultural wages.

Agenda Item 7 – Any Other Business and Next Meeting

Work is being undertaken by AHDB in terms of agricultural skills, apprenticeship frameworks etc. It is mainly English focused but will be worth keeping a watching brief.

The next meeting is on Thursday 16th January 2020.

The Chair thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.

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