CLA wants retailer watchdog

THE COUNTRY Land & Business Association has written to the minister for trade and industry with practical proposals for the establishment of an independent ombudsman in the grocery sector.

The CLA said the move was provoked by frustration at the big supermarkets‘ continuing stranglehold on food suppliers

“It really is high time the Government appointed an independent ombudsman to pull into line these grocery goliaths who maximize their profits whilst forcing small suppliers to cut their margins until it is almost pointless being in business,” said CLA president Mark Hudson.

“After many discussions with the food supply and packing industry, we have proposed to Patricia Hewitt a workable plan to establish an independent statutory watchdog,” Mr Hudson said.

Supermarkets with over eight per cent market share currently subscribe to a code of practice which is meant to offer ways for suppliers to seek redress if they feel they are being unfairly pressured. 

Inquiries have shown, however, that suppliers are too scared to use the code to bring complaints against the big chains for fear of being de-listed.

“We acknowledge that a supermarket subject to a complaint has the right to know the identity of the complainant, but to counter the ‘fear-factor‘ of being de-listed, we recommend that successful complainants are offered protection from de-listing for a set period of time – in effect, ‘post-complaint protection‘,” explained Mr Hudson.



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