Milkmen say industry giant 'bullied them' to take over their rounds
PUBLISHED: 17:30 21 November 2019
A group of 10 milkmen in Highgate, Muswell Hill and East Finchley claim they have been "bullied" by industry giant Milk&More who ended a contract for them to use a depot in Edmonton to deliver to north London.
Tony Drew, 61, who has delivered milk in Highgate since the 1980s told this newspaper that, at a meeting last week: "They put us in this position just before Christmas. We only had two weeks to sort out what we could do."
Tony said the Muller-owned business had offered to in effect buy up the rounds of anyone unwilling to make the move by paying a per-pint fee for a recommendation.
The milkmen said they have been told the only other option was to move to using a depot in Barking.
But Milk&More denied pushing the independents out and said it was expecting many to move
East Finchley milkman Mike Fuller is another affected. He told the Ham&High: "We are being bullied. It's a monopoly. They are trying to take over.
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"Moving to working from a Barking depot was never going to be workable.We all live in north London or even further out, that's a round trip to pick up bottles, then get to Highgate, Muswell Hill and then get back..."
Instead, the group are now to use Ongar Dairies in Epping.
Ongar's finance manager Cem Narisoglu told this newspaper they had been happy to give other independent businesses a hand. He said: "Our founders were milkmen themselves and I think they had a bit of compassion. It was part sentimentality and part looking after small businesses."
Andrew Kendall, Milk&More's deputy chief exec said it had had an agreement with Capital Dairies - who supply the north London milkmen, but this had been reevaluated upon its renewal date.
He said: "Milk&More and Capital Dairies met to discuss this agreement in August this year and following discussions we agreed to serve notice on the arrangement, which was due to end on the 26th October 2019." He said it had been extended until November 23 in October.
He added: "Our understanding is that the majority of the independent milkmen will be travelling to the Barking site and collect their milk and continue to serve their current customers."