Denmark’s largest dairy farmer in conflict with trade union

Some 60,000 litres of milk may go wasted every day as a result

Denmark’s largest milk producer, Jørn Kjær Madsen, who runs the Rønhave dairy farm in Bramming in west Jutland, is involved in a conflict with the Danish trade union 3F over employee wages, reports Politiken.

Some of the farm’s employees, who come from Romania and are members of the union, have complained they only earn 100 kroner per hour, while the collective agreement states they should be getting 135 kroner.

Rønhave farm is the largest shareholder in the Arla Group, which according to DR does not want to get involved in the dispute.

Supporting underpaid colleagues
However, if 3F and Madsen don’t reach an agreement before February 1, some Arla drivers have said they will support their underpaid colleagues by refusing to pick up the milk from the farm.

Some 60,000 litres of milk may go wasted a day as a result.

“Hopefully this won’t be necessary,” Vagn Henriksen, the head of 3F’s Green Group, told DR.

“We are still hoping to negotiate a settlement in the course of this week.”

Madsen employs 40 people, of which 12 are Danes, three are Ukrainians and 25 come from Romania.

Afraid to lose job
A number of the Romanians who complained to 3F about their wages last June have since left the union out of fear they might lost their jobs and not be able to get another one in Denmark.

Kjartan Poulsen, the head of the Danish milk producers, said Danish farmers tend to hire unskilled staff without experience as they are unable to pay the salary 3F is asking for.