There is a huge amount of evidence to suggest that factories could be running a cartel, co-chair of the Beef Plan Movement Eamon Corley has said.
He told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show that groups of independent farmers have taken it upon themselves to take action outside meat factories because they’re not happy with the situation they’re in.
“There’s a dispute on at the moment. Talks are taking place and they’re [farmers and factories] not able to talk about price.
"What other worker in a dispute would not be able to talk about price?
“The reality is it’s €3.45/kg for cattle. Teagasc brought out figures last week [that] it’s €4.17/kg to break even.
"You can look up the [Irish] Farmers Journal where it quotes the prices from the factories every week.
"There’s a variance of 5c that all factories pay," he said.
There is a huge amount of evidence to suggest the factories could be running a cartel, he said.
When asked if minimum pricing should be brought in at €4.17/kg, Corley said that farmers who are currently on the picket line would be happy with that as a starting point.
“Why has this Government not brought legislation in that there is a point that meat cannot be sold below?” he said.
The Beef Plan Movement has called for the retailers to be present at the beef talks for some time, with Corley saying that it was his understanding that Minister Creed was to invite the retailers to the talks.
“We found out yesterday [Monday] he didn’t invite them.
The retailers depend on farmers
"We feel that a new pricing model is needed, like fairtrade coffee or tea.
"There’s a cost involved in producing a kilo of beef, processing a kilo and selling one,” he said.
He also said that an accredited economist should come up with a mathematical equation that gives each of those operators a fair income.
“The retailers depend on farmers because we’re consumers and buy a lot of produce…for them not to have any interest to go to talks...is not a way to conduct their business,” he said.
Corley said that the landscape in Ireland has changed in the last 10 years that big corporations have come in and squeezed and squeezed.
“If the beef farmer goes… you’ll be left with no life in the countryside, factory farms instead of family farms,” he said.
Factories to cease slaughtering cattle ‘indefinitely’
Breaking: knackeries nationwide to strike on Tuesday