Supermarket Ombudsman Must Protect Farmers

UK - The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers has appealed for all complaints made to the new supermarket ombudsman to remain anonymous to ensure farmers stay protected from retailers’ swingeing powers.
calendar icon 28 April 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

“While the Association has been generally supportive of the movements being made by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills to introduce the ombudsman to enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, we have warned of the destruction that can be caused to dairy producers, if retailers decide to retaliate in response to a farmer complaint by changing their suppliers,” comments RABDF technical and policy adviser, Tom Rabbetts after responding to the Department’s consultation document.

“We believe that the Department needs to understand the importance of anonymity when a complaint is made to the enforcement body. If a retailer is investigated, gets wind of the complainant and decides to flex its muscles, then the effects could be disastrous. The minimum damage caused would be a huge blow to the supplier’s reputation, but potentially the loss of a contract they depend on, through no fault of their own.

“The new body has above all else to ensure that if a supplier has a complaint to make, they can do it in full confidentiality. The dairy industry clearly cannot afford to witness a repeat of what happens when a supplier goes into administration and its consequences.” He adds: “Supply contracts between retailers and suppliers are far too flexible at times so it is crucial that the new enforcement body is introduced as soon as possible to regulate the chain.”

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