3 January 2002
Tesco faces farmers’ blockade

By FWi staff

PROTEST group Farmers for Action has pledged to blockade distribution depots belonging to Tesco unless the supermarket agrees to talks.

Farmers for Action chairman David Handley said Tesco faced the biggest mass action since the fuel protests unless talks were agreed by 8 January.

He wants talks with Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy to secure better prices for British farmers who supply the supermarket.

Mr Handley claims that Tesco – Britains most profitable retailer which made 1 billion profit last year – forces farmers to sell produce at a loss.

Sir Terry, who was knighted in the New Year honours list, has refused to meet Mr Handley, preferring to deal with the National Farmers Union.

But Mr Handley said: “We are not going to tolerate being treated like this by someone who has been knighted.”

He added: “We are ready to step up our action to match the fuel protests.”

Tesco has agreed to abide by a voluntary code of practice drawn up in an attempt to improve the relationship between farmers and supermarkets.

But farmers claim the code is open to wide interpretation, especially in areas such as changes to prices and payments and consumer complaints.