ICMSA say lessons being learned from UK farmers’ strike against price cuts
The ICMSA President, John Comer, said that the combative attitude displayed by theUKdairy farmers had been carefully noted with approval by their Irish counterparts and the speed with which both the retailers and processors were brought to their senses and made to withdraw manifestly unfair planned cuts to milk price has been the subject of much admiring comment. He said that a recent Tipperary ICMSA meeting heard numerous impassioned calls for Irish farm organizations to take a similarly hard line with our own processors and retailers – with several of our own retailers represented amongst the companies that backed down so swiftly in the stand-off in the UK. More comment was directed at the cross-party political support that theUKfarmer pressure group, Farmers For Action (FFA) was given – and not just from the usual shire Tories, either.
Mr Comer said that this too has lessons for the Irish context: “The public and politicians will support the farmers where farmers are seen to be abused and treated unfairly by multiples exerting downward price pressure on the processors who then just turn around and pass cuts back to the person milking the cows while both the retailers and processors keep their own margins. There is a momentum building towards some system that will regulate the respective margins along the dairy supply chain. It will take some time to happen at EU level – which is the level it needs to happen at. But the momentum is there and what happened in theUKover the last fortnight was very significant. The dairy farmers eyeballed the likes of Arla and Asda and this time it was the corporations that blinked”, said Mr Comer.
Ends. 3 August 2012.
John Comer, 087-2057846
President of ICMSA.
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office