Wiseman price cut sparks more milk blockades in Scotland

SCOTTISH DAIRY farmers have blockaded three milk distribution plants in protest about the price they are paid.


Two of the sites are owned by Robert Wiseman Dairies and one by Arla.


The Wiseman depots are at Whitburn and Cambuslang while the Arla plant is at Coatbridge.


The protest follows Wiseman’s announcement on Wed (Aug 30) that it will reduce its milk price by 0.35p/litre from September.


John Cummings, Farmers For Action member and organiser, said the sites had been blockaded since 1am on Thursday morning.


Nothing was being allowed out of the sites, which meant at times the atmosphere had been tense, he said.


“But what we are telling them [Arla and Wiseman] is that we’ve got to get some balance back in the milk market,” he said.


The blockades are not unexpected, as NFU Scotland warned on Wednesday evening that Wiseman’s price cut was likely to lead farmers taking action.


The Scottish milk processor said it hoped the cut would be the last in the summer-long round of reductions that have affected virtually every dairy farmer in the UK. It has also pledged not to make further cuts until January 2006.


Milk procurement director Pete Nicholson said: “With this adjustment, competition will be on a more even footing and the whole industry should recognise that there is no market-related reason for a further deterioration in the price paid to farmers.”


But Tom Hind, NFU chief dairy adviser, said: “There is no reason to cut prices –  the danger is that this could be seen as the start of another round of price cuts. If they want to create stability why don’t they hold the price for 12 months?”


* See FARMERS WEEKLY – out on Friday (Sept 2) – for more details.