Morrisons agrees to milk price talks after farmers blockade distribution centre
Farmers staged a tractor and human blockade outside the distribution centre of one of Britain’s biggest supermarkets in the latest round of milk price protests.
07 Aug 2015
BY Olivia Midgley
Farmers and their families protested peacefully at Morrisons’ regional distribution centre close to the M5 at Bridgwater, Somerset, last night.
The move, organised by pressure group Farmers For Action, led to the retailer agreeing to talks, according to reports.
The Bradford based chain has not yet commented.
Somerset farmer and NFU livestock board member James Small said it was a ’huge step’ to ’bring these guys to the table’, adding they would add further pressure on the retailer to act over the ’unsustainable’ price of milk and the fact low supermarket prices were devaluing their product.
It came as Tesco bosses agreed to meet with North Wales farmers to discuss potential solutions to the lamb price crisis which is crippling producers.
The No Lamb Week campaign has been running all week.
Morrisons said it would not accept any further cost price decreases from its suppliers driven by the falling milk price.
However, in a letter to campaigners, it threatened legal action if farmers’ ’activity endangers customers and colleagues’.
Meanwhile protests continued around the country.
Welsh farmer Nerys Edwards wrote on Facebook: “Hard Core! 260 mile round trip from Carmarthen SW Wales to protest in Bridgewater, home @ 2.30am and now TB Testing whole herd. Get in! All worth it to try secure my boys future!”
Beef and sheep farmer Jon King who organised a protest earlier this week in Wells, Somerset, said: “Farming is such a small sector – no one seems to take any notice.
“Agricultural commodity prices are down across the board, this is not just about milk, but about lamb, cereals, everything.
“This is about raising awareness amongst the public and pushing for action.”
Many farmers agreed the dairy industry required an overhaul of the way it operated.
Cheshire dairy producer Phil Latham said ‘we need a substantive change in the way we do business…not with bully boy tactics but by negotiating’.
He added: “There is no mechanism to put upward pressure on supermarkets. We have to look at what we can do to create leverage.”