Kerry Co-op has announced that it has been “left with no other choice but to revert back to the arbitration process” in relation to the ongoing leading milk price issue with Kerry Group.
19 months have passed since the arbitrator ruled in favour of the co-op, which was acting on behalf of its milk suppliers.
In a short statement today (Friday, April 23), a spokesperson for the cooperative said:
“Kerry Co-op Creameries is both disappointed and frustrated by the latest published position of Kerry Group plc regarding the leading milk price.
“The co-op also notes the angry reaction of members to the Kerry Group circular that was published.
“While the response and approach of the plc is yet again very disappointing, the co-op is very focused on meeting the essential requirements of our members, those being the payment of outstanding monies up to 2020 and the payment of a top milk price into the future.
“Having assiduously explored all and every avenue with Kerry Group, the co-op is left with no other choice but to revert back to the arbitration process where Kerry Group needs to finally honour its commitments under the milk supply contract and bring this matter to a conclusion,” the co-op representative concluded.
Up to this point, negotiations had been ongoing between the co-op and Kerry Group following the ruling of the arbitrator more than a year and a half ago.
Under a milk supply contract signed by suppliers, Kerry committed to paying a leading milk price on a ‘like-for-like basis’. As a result of this, “13th payments” had to be issued in order to comply with the agreement.
However, a dispute arose in 2015 over the “13th payment” made to suppliers – because of this dispute, an arbitration case ensued.
One of the key issues in the dispute was whether or not the west Cork co-ops should be included as competitors in determining the extra payment.
In September 2019, the arbitrator found in favour of the co-op that the west Cork co-ops should be included as competitors, a spokesperson for the cooperative confirmed.