tnuva cottage cheese_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
In a twist to the cottage cheese saga that helped ignite last summer’s social
justice protests, workers from the Tnuva dairy company announced on Saturday
that they would block cottage cheese from reaching the market as part of a labor
The Histadrut labor federation authorized the Tnuva workers to
open a labor dispute against the company last month. Workers are demanding,
among other things, salary increases, better retirement conditions and reduced
salary gaps between newer and veteran employees.
Starting on Sunday, they
said, they would stop distributing cottage cheese to stores and
Last year, boycotts and protests over the price of cottage
cheese fueled a movement protesting high prices and demanding social
In July, the government decided to open the dairy market to
imports, adopting the Kedmi Committee’s recommendations on how to bring down
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised the changes would
lower prices and increase industry transparency.
Under the new policy,
dairy farmers and supermarkets will be required to report profits, unfilled
dairy production quotas will be opened up to competition and the target price
(the amount dairy farmers get for a liter of milk at the cowshed gate) will be
lowered by five to six agorot.
In addition, the relationship between
suppliers and supermarkets will be examined.
Supermarkets will also be
required to mark their products clearly, and smaller dairy farms will be
permitted to grow.
Imports were to be introduced gradually over five
years, beginning this year.
The Kedmi Committee, headed by Industry,
Trade and Labor Ministry director-general Sharon Kedmi, was established in
response to a mass-consumer revolt that began over the high cost of cottage
In response, the Dairy Board said it was “troubled” by
Netanyahu’s decision and named what it called two major flaws.
clumsy and complicated solution adopted by the prime minister will not help at
all to lower the price of milk and dairy products for consumers,” the board
“Not only will family dairy farms in the outlying areas of the
country not grow, but after the expected collapse of more than 300 dairy farms,
the concentration of the means of dairy production will grow even further,
strengthening the seasonal shortage of basic dairy products in summer,” the
“Instead of the consumer benefiting, the whole process
will serve only to increase the profits of a few tycoons and a few extra
The Dairy Board said it had warned the prime minister over
and over that “the entire process of collecting data that preceded the decision
was haphazard, and did not rely on verified economic data, nor on
recommendations by leading Israeli experts on agricultural
economy.”Nadav Shemer contributed to this report.