Scottish Union Urges Milk Codes to be Adopted19 December 2012
SCOTLAND - NFU Scotland has called on milk processors and their representative body, Dairy UK, to recognise and operate to the voluntary Code of Practice (vCoP) for milk contracts.
The voluntary code was agreed by the whole industry in August and signed by key parties, including NFU Scotland, in September. However, NFU Scotland is concerned that, when challenged by individual producers under the terms of the code, some processors are procrastinating over use of the code which the union has called ‘unacceptable and deeply frustating’.
NFU Scotland has also spoken to the Scottish Government about the creation of an industry working group to consider the options for compulsory milk contracts in the dairy sector.
The Scottish Government is currently consulting on the EU Dairy Package, agreed last year. Part of that package allows for the introduction of compulsory contracts between a milk producer and his buyer.
NFUS is committed to the delivery of vCoP but believes it is prudent that measures are taken now to look at a legislative basis should the voluntary approach fail.
Speaking in Edinburgh at the NFU Scotland Christmas Press Briefing, Vice President Allan Bowie said: “NFU Scotland and others committed a great deal of time and effort into negotiating the voluntary Code of Practice for contractual relationships between a dairy farmer and their milk buyer. Although the vCoP is voluntary, we believe it is agreed and in place and producers and processors must now honour it without procrastination.
“We need real and transparent commitment from the vast majority of processors and leadership on the code from their organisation, Dairy UK. It has signed up to the code, which took well over a year in negotiation, and it is unacceptable if the code’s uptake stalls at the first hurdle.
Sustainable prices derived from the objective pricing formula could be offered by the likes of Muller Wiseman and Dairy Crest in the near future which vindicates their long campaign, added Mr Bowie.
The Union's stance is that if the vCoP is successful, then there is nothing lost by looking into compulsory contract options and if the vCoP fails then alternative solutions will be readily available.
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