Kerry Group ta­ble €21m ‘good­will’ milk price of­fer

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - LOUISE HO­GAN

THE KERRY Group has tabled a 1.75c per litre ‘good­will’ of­fer on the 2017 milk price in a bid to re­solve the dis­pute be­tween milk sup­pli­ers and the com­pany.

The pro­posed deal would be worth close to €21m or €6,500 on av­er­age for the 3,200 farm­ers who will de­liver a pro­jected 1.2bn litres of milk to the south­ern pro­ces­sor.

The of­fer was made by the Kerry Group to the Kerry Co-op board on the ba­sis that it would re­solve the milk price is­sue for 2015, 2016 and this year. The of­fer is de­pen­dent on an ar­bi­tra­tion case dat­ing back to 2015 be­ing with­drawn.

“We went to the board with this of­fer to re­solve the dis­agree­ment with re­gard to pay­ments in re­cent years and move for­ward on a good­will ba­sis,” said a Kerry Group spokesman. “It would be paid on the ba­sis of the milk sup­plies for 2017.”

He added that the of­fer would “draw a line in the sand” and al­low them to “move for­ward”.

Kerry Co-op board chair­man Mun­day Hayes con­firmed the of­fer had been made and dis­cus­sions were on­go­ing.

‘Thir­teenth pay­ment’

“I am grate­ful to the new CEO Ed­mond Scan­lon for tak­ing this in hand so soon. We ap­pre­ci­ate that,” said Mr Hayes.

The of­fer is now be­ing dis­cussed by sup­pli­ers.

In re­cent years re­la­tions be­came strained as farm­ers felt man­age­ment had rowed back on a pledge to pay the “lead­ing milk price”. Farm­ers had sought a “13th pay­ment” to top-up the milk price.

Thomas Hunter McGowan, who pre­vi­ously held the po­si­tion of chief ex­ec­u­tive of In­terTrade Ire­land, was re­cently rat­i­fied by the Co-op board to take the role of co-op sec­re­tary.

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