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Friday 14 December 2018

LacPatrick announces cuts to its October milk price

It comes after it made a series of cuts for staff

LacPatrick is one of the biggest dairy co-ops in the Border region
LacPatrick is one of the biggest dairy co-ops in the Border region

Margaret Donnelly and Declan O'Brien

LacPatrick has this evening announced its October milk price to its suppliers.

The co-op, which recently merged with Lakeland Dairies, decided at board level today to cut its milk price by 1p/L to 26.5p/L for its Northern suppliers - down from its September price of 27.5p/L, while its southern suppliers will have a 1c/L cut to their milk price, bringing it down to 31c/L (VAT inclusive).

It's also understood that the co-op will not be paying a 2c/L October winter bonus and will decide on whether to pay a November milk bonus at next month's board meeting.

The cut comes after a series of cuts for staff at LacPatrick Co-op were announced last week by management following warnings that the financial situation at the business remained "difficult".

Last month there was consternation among farmer suppliers when, what was described by LacPatrick as 'administrative issues' saw a delay in milk payments.

However, a co-op spokesman insisted that payments to its 900 milk suppliers would not be delayed this month.

In a statement read out to staff at LacPatrick's three operating centres in Monaghan town, Ballyrashane and Artigarvan, management said "urgent measures" were required to "reduce costs and support the survival of the business until the merger with Lakelands completes".

The cuts announced mean the co-op:

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• Is unable to pay a Christmas bonus this year - which is usually worth two weeks' wages;

• Is unable to continue with service pay for long-serving staff;

• Is reducing Bank Holiday pay to double time;

• Is suspending its sick pay scheme.

"We all appreciate the significance of these actions and the impact they will have; however, there is a requirement for us to consider any and all measures in order to try and ensure the continued operations and job security within the business," LacPatrick management told its 400 staff.

"While it is hoped these changes will be limited in duration, it is likely they will be required until completion of the merger.

Replying to queries from the Farming Independent, a LacPatrick spokesman confirmed that payments for October milk will not be delayed this month. He said payments were due to be in farmers' accounts next Sunday, November 25.

Last month payments to the co-op's suppliers were delayed by 24 to 48 hours following what the processor described as "administrative difficulties".

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