National Foods eliminates middle man in price negotiations

Posted by Isobel Drake on 2nd November 2009

The milk price saga in Tasmania took another turn late last week, with National Foods announcing they will no longer work with the Collective Bargaining Group and will instead take their offer direct to farmers.

“As a result of the interest expressed by a number of individuals and following a meeting … at which National Foods clarified its offer for the farmers’ Collective Bargaining Group, National Foods has decided to take its milk price offer direct to its Tasmanian dairy farmers,” the dairy and juice group advised in a statement.

In Tasmania, concerns have been raised that fewer competitors in the market may be leading to prices below that in the rest of Australia, with a Senate inquiry set up in September to look into the issue. Negotiations with the collective bargaining group since then have not yielded any positive results, with farmers indicating the revised offer remains below the cost of production.

Conor O’Malley, Group Executive Corporate Service and Logistics, said communication via the Collective Bargaining Group had failed and the only sensible course was to talk directly to farmers.

“We will confirm for our farmers what the price offer looks like for them individually and also explain the changes we made to the wording of the contract in response to our farmers’ requests,” Mr O’Malley said. “A number of our farmers, and others who are not currently National Foods suppliers, have said they are very interested in the offer we made public last week.”

“This process has not been easy but the time is right to sit down and have conversations with our farmers to ensure they receive, directly from us, a clear understanding of the pricing package we are offering.”