Anti-GM action - 29-30/09/04 - Sainsbury's Haydock (Merseyside) depot blockaded

Sainsburys Haydock blockade
30.9.04

At 2340 on Wednesday September 29th about 25 people from the North West blockaded Sainsbury's Haydock distribution centre in Merseyside. This was in protest over Sainsbury's selling milk from cows that have been fed GM feed.

A circle of six people locked to each other with arm tubes in front of the main gate. Meanwhile others stopped lorries, talked to drivers and locked the second gate (emergency gate) with a decent bike lock. The vast majority of Sainsbury's lorry drivers were supportive – they are pissed off with Sainsbury's because of how they treat their workers and most were anti-GM too.

The blockade succeeded in stopping lorries coming in or out of the depot for three and a half hours.
There were no arrests and the only equipment lost was a lock used to shut the emergency gate.

Just after 0300, a mobile CCTV van arrived at the emergency gate with eight coppers, and a car with two more cops. They got rid of the lock in no time and lorries began leaving through the emergency gate.

The emergency gate has never been used before when this depot was blockaded as part of the national blockade recently or when it has been blockaded by farmers and striking sainsbury’s workers on previous occasions. It looks like Sainsbury’s were hit hard by the last blockade and have had to make contingency plans for a repeat scenario.

This is not the first time the depot has been blockaded;
Back in July, Sainsbury's distribution centres around the UK were simultaneously blockaded. https://publish.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/07/294268.html
Last December workers at the depot were on strike over pay and conditions (see below)
Farmers groups have also blockaded the depot with tractors and farm vehicles in the past.

No-one was arrested and all the blockaders and their equipment got home safely, happy in the knowledge that the blockade had cost the supermarket chain £350 00 - £500 000. Each hour a depot is shut is said to set back Sainsbury's by three hours and cost them £100 000 to £150 000.

More general info here: http://www.geneticsaction.org.uk/

Info on strike by workers at Haydock;
Socialist W***er report http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/print_article.php4?article_id=626
BBC Report http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/england/merseyside/3244930.stm
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An update on effects of last week's blockade:

By Friday lunchtime, a day and a half after the blockade, Sainsburys stores in Manchester had empty shelves in some meat and dairy lines. The situation seemed to get worse for Sainsburys that day, recovering by Saturday. At one Sainsburys store in Fallowfield, Manchester, anti-GM activists handed out leaflets and spoke to potential customers about their unlabelled GM milk.

Good news was received from further afield... a researcher in Derby reportedly noticed large gaps in dairy and meat produce shelves, which had been instead stacked with vegetables! (Lettuces received a special mention). When the researcher rang Sainsburys to enquire about this unusually healthy approach to shelf-stacking, the first person to answer said "it must be that blockade". Further enquiries met with a denial that there had even been a blockade and mumblings about computer problems ... we can imagine what the truth was!

Perhaps anti GM protesters could apply for money from government 5-fruit-and-veg-a-day initiatives?
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Press release

SAINSBURY'S DEPOT BROUGHT TO A STAND STILL AGAIN BY GM PROTESTERS

One of Sainsbury's biggest UK distribution centres has been shut down tonight as part of a concentrated campaign to stop Sainsbury's selling milk from cows fed on GM products.
People are chained together through steel tubes, blocking the depot gates.

This action is blocking entrances normally used to distribute the supermarket's dairy products that come from cows fed GM animal feed. The protest follows Sainsbury's failure to provide non-GM fed milk as standard, despite rivals like Marks and Spencer and the Co-op doing so.

A protester explained:
"Neither farmers or consumers want GM in our food chain. Sainsbury's must keep their promise to phase out its use, and pay farmers properly so they can do so"

A farmer added:
"We are paid less for our milk than it costs to produce. GM is only adding to the crisis in our industry. We want an end to the exploitation of foreign farmers through GM, and an end to the exploitation of us by the supermarkets."

The protesters intend to stay until GM fed products are taken off Sainsbury's shelves. The police have been called but any arrests are likely to be seriously delayed by the demonstrator's chains and equipment.

NOTES TO EDITORS

GM fed milk is currently unlabelled. The effects of GM on both cattle, and the people who then eat products from them, have never been tested by independent scientists.
In the face of public concern Sainsbury's pledged to phase out the use of GM in animal feed three years ago, but are now claiming they cannot for economic reasons.
Prof. Bob Orskov OBE, director of the International Feed Resource Unit in Aberdeen has said "As a scientist, I wouldn't drink milk from cows fed GM with the current state of knowledge".

for more information see http://www.geneticsaction.org.uk/resources/alliancesainsburys.pdf.
The location of the depot is-

Haydock
Haydock Industrial Est
Haydock
St Helens,
Mersyside
WA1 9WB