A group of milk suppliers who protested outside Kerry Group Headquarters in Tralee this morning say they will escalate their protests if their demands to meet with management on milk price is not met.
The 25 farmers gathered at the front and back entrances of the HQ at Princes Street from early morning and some staff and other visitors were forced to park nearby.
The suppliers from Clare and Kerry said it had been seven weeks since an arbitrator had ruled in their favour and management still had not met with them.
The protestors say they are taking the action following arbitration between Kerry Group and milk suppliers on the issue of milk price going back to 2015.
They claim Kerry Group hasn’t met with an elected subcommittee of the Kerry Co-Op board who negotiate on behalf of milk suppliers.
The Kerry farmers claimed they had the leading milk price commitment from Kerry Group back in 2011.
"For a number of years Kerry Co Op felt that the leading milk price commitment wasn’t being honored because Kerry Group refused to include the West Cork Co Ops in the milk price calculation, Kerry Co Op went to arbitration to seek clarity on the contract which they got seven weeks ago after being in arbitration for three and a half years," Jerome Crowley, a farmer spokesman, said.
“I now call on Kerry Group to honour their commitment and pay the money that’s owed to their 3,200 milk suppliers without delay,” Mr Crowley said.
“We are planning to escalate the protests from next week,” he added.
However, a spokesman for Kerry Group in Tralee said they are carrying out a review but their findings to date indicate no price adjustment is required to the 2015 price.
The analysis was very detailed and it included other co-ops and payments, he said.
“We are engaging with the Co-op,” the Kerry Group spokesman said.
In a statement last night, issued by The Kerry Co-Op Leading Milk Price Committee, said they wish to confirm there had been no discussion between Kerry Group and the Committee since 6th September 2019 the date the Arbitrator's report was released.
"The Committee acknowledge the frustration this delay is causing for milk suppliers. The Committee look forward to engagement with Kerry Group without delay," they said.