The trade union for farm workers has labelled the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) this month as "vindictive".
Farm workers throughout the Westcountry may be affected by the ending of the AWB, which was originally founded to fix minimum wages in the wake of the Second World War.
But Unite, the country's largest union, pledged it would continue to offer support and advice to its members: "facing fraught pay negotiations with their employers for the first time". The union has set up a Wages Watch to monitor pay and employment conditions.
Farmers, though, have welcomed the move, saying the AWB was an unnecessary relic and minimum wages were protected already.
The AWB set minimum pay and conditions for about 140,000 farm workers nationally and provided a benchmark for thousands more, including estate workers and equestrian staff.
Unite is advising workers to know their rights. Julia Long, Unite's national officer for agricultural workers, said: "Our members in low-paid rural industries are facing a vindictive assault on their pay and conditions from a multi-million pound industry backed by a coalition government of millionaires."
But Mel Squires, South West regional director of the National Farmers' Union, commented: "This finally sees agriculture on par with other sectors of the economy when it comes to employment issues, as we move away from the restrictions of the AWB. Employers will be free to engage new workers on terms and conditions that comply with wider employment legislation, rather than being bound by a rigid framework imposed by the old legislation."