13 April 2000
Dairy protestors call off blockade
PROTESTING dairy farmers have called off their blockade of Unigates Totnes, Devon dairy plant.
Peace broke out last week after Unigate gave protesters a written undertaking it would meet farmers “next week”, provided certain conditions were met.
The meeting must be called, organised and chaired by the NFU; a maximum of 50 representative farmers will be allowed in; and other major dairy companies will attend.
Farmers were represented in the negotiations by Richard Haddock, Devon delegate to NFU council, and David MacBean NFU South West dairy chairman.
Mr MacBean said: “The farmers wanted an open meeting. But we compromised by suggesting an open meeting within 48 hours of the main meeting.
“If this meeting does not happen fairly soon, I presume it will be back to direct action. There is a powder-keg out there.
“Many dairy farmers are in absolute despair. I have had them on the phone in tears. The only way forward is to talk to find ways to work together so the whole industry survives.”
Mr Haddock said: “We have done our bit at grassroots. We opened the door for the meeting.”