The Welsh Government is using powers it gained after a legal battle with the UK government to increase minimum wages for farm workers by 6%. It's their first increase since 2012 and means that most farm workers, on the standard grade, will see their hourly rate go up from £6.96 an hour to £7.38.
The minimum rate will be £6.72 -that's 2p more than the National Living Wage, which the UK government will introduce next year. The top rate, the minimum for farm managers, will go up from £9.40 an hour to £9.96.
[It] recognises the unique nature of agricultural work ... rewards skills and qualifications ... underpins the Welsh Government’s vision of a modern, professional and profitable agriculture industry in Wales, and the importance of having well-motivated,well-trained and appropriately remunerated workers.
The old pay rates were set for England and Wales under legislation that was repealed by the UK government, prompting the Welsh Government to introduce a Wales-only law. That led to a legal battle in the Supreme Court, which gave a landmark ruling on the extent of devolved powers.
The draft Wales Bill proposed by the Welsh Secretary, Stephen Crabb, specifically preserves the devolved power over agricultural wages. The Assembly's Presiding officer, Dame Rosemary Butler, has warned that it would prevent similar Wales-only legislation for workers in other areas, such as the care sector, for which the Welsh Government is responsible.
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The First Minister has admitted that the Welsh Government 'got it wrong' when it decided to stop publishing decision reports by cabinet ministers.
The reports had been posted on the Welsh Government website but were discontinued because ministers said very few people read them.
But after an outcry, Carwyn Jones has taken to twitter to announce they'll be reinstated.
Transparency & effective scrutiny of Government decisions is crucial ... 1/2
I've listened to views on Decision Reports - we got it wrong - and I will be reintroducing them 2/2
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Economy and Transport Minister Edwina Hart has blamed "poor driver behaviour" for the length of the queues on the A55 at Penmaenmawr two weeks ago. In a written statement to Assembly Members, she says the Welsh Government had tried to reduce delays caused by improvement work in the tunnels through the Penmaenbach headland.
I ... appreciate that the works have caused some frustration for road users. Unfortunately, delays were longer than normal the week before last, and poor driver behaviour impacted on our efforts to minimise queuing.
We are unable to re-open the westbound tunnel fully each day as this would extend the overall programme considerably, result in greater health and safety risks and significantly increase scheme costs. However, we did remove the eastbound traffic management during the day on the weekend to minimise delays. Signs have also now been put in place in an attempt to discourage vehicles using Sychnant Pass.
Mrs Hart added that the contractors "are working 24/7" to complete the scheme before Christmas and that the Welsh Government aimed to have no restrictions on the A55 between Easter and September 2016. She expected that planned work on the Conwy and Pen y Clip tunnels in February and March would cause significantly fewer problems than the Penmaenbach scheme.
The Minister also pointed out that £42 million was being spent on the A55 in order to improve the safety and resilience of the key route across north Wales.
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