The Welsh Assembly has voted to regulate farm workers' wages after the UK Government last month ended controls for England and Wales. The legislation was rushed through the Senedd this week under emergency procedures that enabled it to be passed before AMs began their summer recess.
The decision to introduce this Bill with such urgency was not one we took lightly. However, swift and decisive action was necessary to ensure we are able to provide continuous support to our agricultural sector beyond 1 October 2013. By preserving the provisions of the 2012 Agricultural Wages Order in Wales we are providing continuity of a statutory regime that is well-known and respected by the sector; a regime that acknowledges the distinctiveness of Welsh agriculture, supports skill development and encourages new entrants into the industry.
This is a significant moment in the history of our Assembly as for the first time in the history of this body we have used emergency procedures to bring forward a Bill. Agriculture is a fundamental part of Wales’s economy, identity and rural heritage. I am very pleased that we have passed a Bill that will strengthen our agricultural industry and protect our rural communities
The bill will not become law until the Queen has given Royal Assent. The Assembly Government must first wait to see if the UK Government decides to ask the Supreme Court if the legislation essentially an agricultural measure and so within the Assembly's competence.
If it was seen as employment legislation it could be struck down as being outside the powers granted to the Assembly by Westminster.
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