Obviously, wages. There were terrible stories before 2004 that people were working for £1.50 an hour and things like that. What I’ve already said is national minimum wage is £5.73 an hour. We’ve got to ensure that people are doing that. We’ve got to ensure that if people are engaged in piece work, where they can make more than that, however, if they’re not able to make that, the employer has got to make them up to at least that for their hourly work. So that’s the type of thing we get involved in, to ensure the conditions that they’re working in, the conditions that they’re transported in, the conditions they’re housed in and the money they get is correct. People also have a right to say: “I don’t want to work more than forty-eight hours a week.” There are quite a lot who actually want to work more than that, but there are regulations that say people should have a day off a week and things like that. And sometimes someone who comes across to this country wants to work every hour of every day that they’re here, but, unfortunately, rules and regulations are there for a better lifestyle for them, and so that accidents don’t happen because somebody’s tired because they’ve been working a hundred and twenty hours a week. And it’s very often steering a mean line between the two sides because, as we all know, particularly in agriculture, there is a rush to get a crop from a field into safety so that the crop is not damaged or destroyed and we will try our best to work alongside but at the same time we do have to say: “Enough’s enough,” sometimes. These people need time off. So that’s the type of things that we’ve been becoming involved in.

  • Ian Japp
Location:
Edinburgh
Date:
Wednesday 6th May 2009
Reference:
SWI2009/002