The Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) launched a survey of the groceries sector to get a clear insight from suppliers into their relationships with retailers. It also wanted to see what impact the Groceries Supply Code of Practice is having on the sector.
At the annual GCA conference last month, Christine Tacon announced that the survey results prove her collaborative approach towards retailers is working. The results show that suppliers are now more aware of the GCA and they are more likely to trust the GCA to take action against a retailer who breaches the Code.
But, the survey results also show that the GCA has more work to do. In the last year, 70% of suppliers reported Code related issues in dealings with the ten large grocery retailers; a reduction of only 9% since last year's survey. Of further concern is that less than 50% of suppliers would actually raise an issue with the GCA. Fear of retribution by the retailers remains the biggest reason why suppliers opt to keep quiet. This culture of fear perhaps explains why only one investigation and two arbitrations have been initiated since the GCA was formed.
As well as the GCA needing to do more to address the current imbalance between retailers and suppliers, suppliers also have a responsibility to do more to familiarise themselves with their rights under the Code. Currently only 24% of suppliers say they have a good understanding of the Code, with 71% reporting that they had received no training on the Code.
Suppliers may find that having an increased knowledge of the Code will help them negotiate better terms with retailers at the outset of their relationship.
This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at June 2015. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions on www.TLTsolicitors.com