Action Points Agreed Following 2 Sisters Meeting04 December 2013
UK - Producers from across the country who have been affected by the restructuring of the 2 Sisters Food Group attended a meeting on Monday, 2 December.
A number of action points have come out of the open meeting in Inverurie, organised by NFU Scotland, and was attended by 29 producers as well as others represented indirectly.
Growers contracted through Hook 2 Sisters to the Letham plant and growers working through 2Agri to supply the Coupar Angus factory were all invited to attend.
The firm said a fortnight ago it was cutting production at Coupar Angus with the potential loss of up to 200 jobs. With all contract suppliers now under some form of notice this is significant uncertainty - some producers appear not to have a future with the 2 Sisters Food Group.
NFU Scotland will now open up further dialogue with the major retailers to the highest of levels. This will seek to outline impacts of threatened terminations and price cuts on supply, ensure future investment and sustainability of producers. As well as quantifying future demand and specifications and weights required.
The Union will also make further efforts to improve communication flow with 2 Sisters and Hook 2 Sisters.
As a result of the meeting the Letham producer association is to be expanded to take in all producers. Membership forms were circulated with a potential membership fee agreed. A steering group has been appointed.
The Union will also make links with the producers group and retailers to ensure better communication in the future.
NFU Scotland will also seek legal advice and support for negotiating compensation for the two groups of affected producers that have been impacted by the immediate termination of their supply contracts.
The immediate fall out has been on the organic and free range sector and the Union will be looking at what demand there is for that sector in Scotland.
NFU Scotland’s President, Nigel Millar, who chaired the meeting commented: "In response to producer’s concerns, there are immediate issues for independent chicken growers in resolving the future position. Working together must be the best way forward to secure progress.
"It has been agreed that a Scotland-wide producer association should be established with support from SAOS.
"A steering group has been formed and the Union will be giving that support to allow the group to establish links with retailers coherently and to look at the future supply chain development which will underpin the poultry industry going forward.
"In the medium-term there are producer concerns that Scottish chicken production will remain vulnerable while processing is controlled by one group. Exploring the establishment of a new processing company is now on the agenda.
"As an immediate response to producer concern the Union will be putting together evidence to place with the Office of Fair Trading to prompt an inquiry into the Scottish market situation."
ThePoultrySite News Desk