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Thursday, 5 September, 2002, 20:16 GMT 21:16 UK
Dairy farmers picket food centres
Farmers demonstrate at Chepstow, September 2002
The farmers' demo was in protest at dairy product prices
Welsh farmers have held a fresh series of protests against supermarket chains over prices paid for dairy products.

Farmers For Action volunteers held pickets at two distribution centres in south Wales and were to target four in England, at Bristol, Kent, Southampton, Cheshire and Yorkshire.

David Handley, Farmers for Action
David Handley: He led the protests

FFA leader David Handley led around 30 farmers at protests at Asda and Tesco centres at Chepstow, near the Severn Bridge, south east Wales.

Across the UK, all the major supermarket chains - Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury, Safeway and Morrisons - were declared targets.

The direct action was the latest in a series of events, with Mr Handley claiming there had been no improvement in payments to farmers, after months of talks.

The Monmouthshire tenant farmer has warned of further disruption at other centres in the UK and Ireland, as farmers step up action to gain a fair deal.

Gwent Police said the protests at the supermarket depots in Chepstow passed without incident - there was no blockade of the premises - and all the protesters had left by 1am.

Protestors spoke to drivers

Officers said the protestors were allowed to speak to drivers coming in and out of the depots if the drivers were willing to stop.

In February, FFA members threatened protests and blockades of distribution depots in England and Wales.

Teams of dairy farmers picketed Tesco distribution depots in March 2000, saying it was destroying their livelihoods by paying too little for milk.

And in 1997 Welsh farmers picketed a Newport distribution depot, accusing the firm of making unfair profits on British beef.

A code of practice governing relations between the biggest supermarkets - currently Tesco, Asda, Safeway and Sainsbury - and their suppliers, came into force in March.

The government code was drawn up by the DTI after the Competition Commission published a report concluding the big chains operated in ways that "distorted" a fair market.


More news from south east Wales
See also:

01 Nov 01 | Business
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