DAERA Minister Edwin Poots MLA, today announced that he has extended the appointment of the Chair of the Agricultural Wages Board, Mr Rodger McKnight, for a period of 12 months.
On 13 May 2021, Minister Poots launched a public consultation on proposals to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) in Northern Ireland. Mr McKnight’s extension will ensure that the AWB can continue to operate effectively while the process to consider the AWB for abolishment is underway.
Mr McKnight’s extended term will take effect from 1 June 2021.
This decision has been made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice. Mr McKnight was first appointed as Chair on 1 June 2014.
Notes to editors:
1. The Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) was established under the terms of the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) (Northern Ireland) Order 1977, to regulate the minimum rates of wages, and other related matters, for workers in agriculture. Appointments are made under Article 3 and Schedule 1 of the order.
2. The Board consists of 15 members:
- three members appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, one of whom is Chair of the Board. One of the independent members positions is currently vacant;
- six members nominated by the Ulster Farmers' Union as representatives of agricultural employers; and
- six members nominated by Unite the Union as representatives of agricultural workers' interests.
3. The post of Chair attracts attendance fees of £279 per meeting, plus travelling expenses and subsistence at civil service rates. Reasonable costs for child and dependent care may also be paid. The Board meets three times per year.
4. ‘Mr Rodger McKnight is from Ballyrobert, County Antrim. Rodger has significant experience of industrial relations negotiations, employment law and formal arbitration. He also brings to the role a good understanding of legislation and of applying legislative guidelines. Rodger has held a number of senior management positions within the private and public sectors, up to and including Chief Executive level. Rodger holds another ministerial appointment as a panel member for the Industrial Tribunal and Fair Employment Tribunal for Northern Ireland. Mr McKnight has held this position since 1996 and payment is at £200 per day.’
5. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments NI requires that the political activity of appointees to be published. Rodger has not been involved in any political activities during the past five years.
6. The public consultation on the future of the AWB is open from 13 May 2021 until 8 July 2021. Comments on the Equality Impact Assessment will be welcome until 5 August 2021 in accordance with the DAERA Equality Scheme. Download the consultation document from the DAERA website.
8. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office.
9. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
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