Tasmanian potato growers last night accepted the price increase offer tabled by processor Simplot, heralding the end to a long-running industrial dispute.
Potato growers in Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia launched a campaign against processors three months ago, calling for an immediate increase in payment of A$30 (US$15.78) a tonne. The demand sought the first price increase received by farmers for a decade.
Giant US processor McCain found its Tasmanian factory blockaded while farmers sought a deal, and eventually offered an acceptable price increase. Simplot meanwhile refused to offer an increase, and a meeting in Melbourne last week ended in stalemate.
At a meeting of growers’ representatives last night however, Simplot offered an average price rise of A$29 over three years, with the promise of improved bonuses for quality.
Max McKenna, chairman of Simplot growers’ group, revealed that while no one was completely happy with the deal, it was accepted as probably the best outcome possible at this stage of the dispute.