FARMERS have called a 10-day ceasefire in their battle over milk prices after talks in Shropshire broke up last night.
They have agreed to stop blockades of the Muller Wiseman dairy in Market Drayton after the company said discussions could not continue against ‘a backdrop of militancy’. The firm’s chief executive Ronald Kers agreed the truce with Farmers For Action.
Farmers, who blocked the dairy entrance with tractors on Monday, have agreed to a ceasefire for up to 10 days.
But they were told that Muller chiefs will not move on price unless other processors do so first.
Muller Wiseman bosses said they had a ‘constructive relationship’ with campaigners but would not discuss price rises while protests and blockades continue.
A spokesman for the company said: “We have committed to discussions on milk price. We are acutely aware of the challenges facing our suppliers and we are determined to do all we can.
“But constructive discussions cannot take place against a backdrop of militancy and illegal blockades.”
Andrew Hemming, vice-chairman of FFA, said he was confident about a move on price following yesterday’s talks. He said two major processors and a smaller one were ‘quite willing’ to move on price.
“It has gone from definitely no more money in 2012, and now the wording is there is a possibility but we cannot guarantee it,” he said. “Muller thought they were being targeted as the only ones being blockaded, but messages have gone out now to other processors. We need a date that they are prepared to move on price and Muller bosses said they will follow.”
He added that after ‘seven to 10 days’ farmers would resume protests again if the price offered by Muller had not increased.