The Legislative Assembly strikes back?

This will be an interesting move if the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister can implement it. According to Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson, who is a member of the committee, they have voted to endorse the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board – although it’s not clear where the proposal came from [The Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister? – Ed]. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a majority on the Committee, with the exception of Sinn Féin, favour the Board’s abolition, the Legislative Assembly previously voted to do just that in line with the recommendation of the Review of Public Adminstration – only to be ignored by the Agriculture Minister. Of course, like Peter Hain before them, before Sinn Féin were in favour of the Board, they were against it too..

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  • Mark McGregor

    The AWB had the nerve to announce today they had agreed to implement new wage structures for Grade I employees after discussions, funnily enough their announcement was just complying with minimum wage legislation – they didn’t mention that. They did say Grade II was unaffected. Taking the piss.

  • William

    Is Mark the Shinner upset at the AWB’s demise? SF were the only party to want to retain the quango and it was left to that old Hag from the Bog, Anderson to announce it.

  • Danny O’Connor

    The legislative assembly should,certainly in the absence of executive business,have more time for private members bills.I am not aware of any, other than John McCallister ,who have anything on the go .What would happen if a private member had a bill passed that compelled a minister to act to abolish this AWB.Maybe we could pass one that compelled the executive to meet and function,the mechanism to trigger such a situation could be put,the only way it could be stopped -given that most ministers say they want this-would be a petition of concern,30 members, and SF dont have 30 to enforce that.

  • bona fide

    Danny, interesting proposal on passing a bill to get the executive to meet but doubt it would be as straight forward as that. And wouldn’t want that to happen anyway.
    When the public authorities reform bill gets to Consideration stage if someone has tabled the necessary amendment the Assembly will have the opportunity to vote on retaining / abolishing the AWB.
    Just to bring you up to speed on private member’s Bills though – David McNarry hopes to introduce one next week on community use of school premises.

  • Lamaria

    Danny, bona is right. When amendments to the public authorities reform bill are considered during consideration stage the AWB could be abolished – there is no need for a new Bill.

    In the OFMDFM Committee last week Tom Elliott formerly proposed that the Committee recommend OFMDFM to amend the Bill – This is unlikely given Sinn Féin’s support of AWB – and may only result in the Committee Stage of the Bill being extended.

    However, a Committee or indeed any individual member can propose an amendment. From what I heard at the Committee last week, it seems if OFMDFM refuse to back any change then their Committee will probably write to the Agriculture Committee supporting them in moving an amendment.
    Either way it seems the AWB is on the way out. If the Agriculture Comm wants it to go and the UFU want it to go then its future looks bleak.

    This does help to highlight some of the power that the Committees have in the Assembly especially when compared to Westminster or the Dail.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Bona Fide
    That proposal of David McNarry would be well worthy of serious consideration.It already happens in parts of England,where the school is a community school,it should all dovetail into the whole area of community planning,the issue is about which school? which sector? funding, etc

  • bona fide

    Danny – sorry, am not aware of the detail of McNarry’s proposal. he’s hoping to introduce on Monday though, so all will soon be revealed!

  • bona fide

    If anyone’s particularly interested in how things pan out with the AWB in the PAR Bill – watch this space. It may not be as straight forward as Lamaria and I first thought i.e. that amendments at consideration stage facilitate the abolition of the board. There are ways and means of preventing this from happening (very mysterious, huh?) Will be interesting to see if that happens – and if it does it effectively would mean that our committees and the assembly don’t quite have the clout that we would maybe prefer to see.