Blog: Dean BestFrench union boss turns milk row sour

Dean Best | 21 May 2009

Today (21 May) is a public holiday in France to mark Ascension Day, which commemorates the rise of Jesus into heaven.

There remains, however, a stark lack of good will among those working in the French dairy sector, which is again embroiled in a row over price.

After days of protests and blockades up and down the country, the French government has moved quickly to appoint mediators for talks between milk producers and dairies – negotiations that dairy giants like Bongrain and Bel have been quick to support.

Relations between the two sides, however, remain sour. This morning,  Jean-Michel Lemétayer appeared on French radio to call for a “day of action” next Monday (25 May) and urged farmers to blockade every dairy in the country.

Lemétayer again attacked the slump in milk prices in France and insisted that, despite farmers facing lower prices, the price of dairy products at retail level remained higher.

France, then, prepares for “une journée blanche lundi” – which also happens to be the day French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier heads to Brussels to discuss the issue with his EU counterparts.


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