If any Cats were watching Insiders this morning, you would have noticed Barrie Cassidy and Dennis Atkins bending over backwards to mislead us about the contents of the SPC Ardmona enterprise agreement. (The AMWU or someone from the Labor Party had obviously got in their respective ears.)
No, no, no … sick leave isn’t paid out. Redundancy payments have been cut back from a maximum of 2 years to 1 year. There is no overtime. Nothing to see, just move on.
The real problem for these apologists is that the SPC Ardmona Enterprise Agreement is a public document and anyone can check it out. I suggest Sharman Stone check it out before she continues to blather on in complete ignorance.
It is a very depressing document, including the fact that the AMWU is a formal party to the agreement that is not necessary under the Fair Work Act. It is full of mumbo-jumbo, excessive union influence and over the top conditions.
Here are some of the core features of the excessively lengthy and guffy document:
- Up to 20 days of unused sick leave is paid out when an employee leaves the company;
- Only recent employees are limited to one year pay on redundancy/severance – all others (and this will be virtually all of them) can receive up to 104 weeks pay (4 weeks for each year of service) and for very some very long term employees, the figure is even higher;
- And wait for this – there is a loading on the lump sum according to the age of the employee, starting from aged 50;
- SPC Ardmona is a union shop, with the company agreeing to a union representative attending induction and agreeing to encourage union membership;
- There are 8 union reps on site (shop stewards) and they are entitled to 5 days paid leave to attend trade union training. They can also undertake union business on company time;
- Overtime is paid at pretty much standard rates it would seem – eg. time and a half on Saturdays (so much for Barrie’s assertion there);
- And wait for this, the workers receive a Rostered Day Off every month;
- And then there are ridiculous allowances, such a having a first aid certificate, container allowance, bright can allowance (I am not making this up), wet place allowance, cold allowance;
- Annual leave looks excessive – 28 days, compared with the norm of 20 days, with leave loading paid for the full period;
- Compulsory income protection insurance (a union racket for which the company pays part of the premium)
And the list goes on. There is some ridiculous arrangement called The Council, which is clearly an impediment to managers making decisions, outlined in the agreement.
As to rates of pay, they look pretty generous when you add in the allowances and overtime, etc.
Take a S5 production worker (middle of the range), for instance, currently hourly rate of pay is $26.15. And bear in mind, the workers are living in Shepparton or close by.
This agreement is just typical of the destructive agreements that pervade lots of parts of manufacturing. To think that Australia has a future in food processing with this sort of legal instrument in place is just fanciful.