Fonterra to resume operations soon

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

The Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited yesterday decided to suspend its consumer operations in Sri Lanka, until further notice, due to the unstable situation its 755 employees were facing. But, it will resume its operation in a few days when the situation improves.

Fonterra’s Corporate Social Engagement Manager Ashan Jayatilaka said that Fonterra Chief Executive Officer, in the parent company, Theo Spierings had taken a decision to attend to priorities of immediate concern. The Fonterra factory was surrounded by some protesters a few days ago and that was a threat to its 755 employees. The first priority was protecting its people and the second priority was protecting its farmer shareholders’ assets, he said.

He pointed out that the company felt that temporary suspension of the milk products was the right thing to do.

It was a precautionary measure to ensure its 755 employees were safe, he said. Fonterra had closed the plants in Sri Lanka and had asked its employees to stay at home.

Jayatilaka added that at the same time the company would do everything possible to protect its farmer shareholders’ investment in Fonterra’s Sri Lanka manufacturing and commercial operations. The Fonterra CEO had provided every possible assurance to the Sri Lankan authorities on the safety and quality of Fonterra products, and would remain committed to the Sri Lankam people.

He said that Fonterra Sri Lanka was currently subject to an Enjoining Order issued by a court, which had shut down its ability to sell produce, advertise or make public statements, in any way, with customers or consumers in Sri Lanka.

He said Fonterra was working with the Sri Lankan and New Zealand governments on a long-term sustainable solution.

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