News briefs: Nestle, NFU action and Murray Goulburn

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Murray goulburn Ice cream Milk

This week, Australian cooperative Murray Goulburn braces itself for strike action, Nestle expects easing commodity pressures and Dairy UK loses the support of the country’s farming union.

Murray Goulburn geared for strikes

Australia-based cooperative Murray Goulburn says it is facing set backs in production at its operations across the state of Victoria amidst ongoing strikes from its maintenance employees, according to press reports.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported yesterday that 170 employees working for the group in the state have opted for industrial action due to concerns over pay and conditions at the factory.

Reports in the country suggest that a union representing the maintenance staff is unhappy at the current rate of pay for its workers amidst what it claims are highly profitable times for the cooperative.

However, Murray Goulburn's Ian Bird told the ABC that the group would work to offset the impact of the strikes, which he claims could affect the group’s dairy farmers, whose milk it will be unable to process.

Nestle expects end to price hike reliance

Nestle’s chief financial officer says that company wide growth is expected to slow over the second half of the current financial year, as the group becomes less reliant on price hikes for its goods amidst stable more commodity prices.

Speaking to UK-based newspaper The Guardian, James Singh this week claimed that the company anticipated that a decline in the prices for milk, coffee, sugars and grains will become less of a concern to the group.

According to the paper, Nestle is expecting to now concentrate on pushing sales volumes to bolster its profitability after enacting a number of price rises for its brands over the last year.

In looking ahead, the paper, quoting Singh, said that out of CHF14bn (€8.8bn) spent on agricultural commodities more than half of that was on milk for brands such as its Haagen Daz ice cream and Nesquik.

Singh added that although US and key Western European markets like France and Germany were expected to remain challenging for the company, emerging market growth and a turnaround in the UK should drive further growth.

NFU criticise Dairy UK appointment

The UK-based National Farmers’ Union (NFU) says it is ceasing its involvement with industry association Dairy UK after the group this week replaced its independent chairman with a leading processor representative.

The NFU claims that the replacement of British MP David Curry with Mark Allen, chief executive of processor Dairy Crest, has compromised the impartiality of the organisation to work for the entire industry and not just manufacturers.

“In opting to appoint a processor as opposed to an independent chairman, the organisation has given up on the idea of being a voice for the whole dairy industry and instead has reverted back to being a body representing dairy processors,”​ the NFU stated.

However, Dairy UK director Jim Begg said that despite the new chairman’s role in dairy manufacturing, the associations work would not be to the detriment of farmer interests.

“We will continue to represent the interests of farmers and processors with equal vigour and farmers will continue to sit as directors on our board,”​ he stated. “They will also have significant representation at Dairy UK through the Farmers’ Forum, and by feeding into other areas of our work.”

Related topics Manufacturers Nestlé

Related news