Desperately seeking Sharman – she’s the one doing the lying

Obviously, those nice union officials have got in Sharman’s ear – nothing to do with wages, conditions, work practices – but this doesn’t excuse her verballing (actually lying about) the Productivity Commission.

(If these allowances are so trivial, get rid of them.  They must be a nightmare for the company to administer.  Sadly for her, the underutilisation of the factory is an outcome of the ridiculous arrangements – 5 days off in the Melbourne Cup week, include the Food Preservers’ Picnic Day (come off it)and the other RDOs.)

Her claims about dumping – handled now by the Anti-Dumping Commission – are fanciful. There has not been a surge of imports of tinned fruit.  In the case of tomatoes, in one minor instance, dumping was established, but it was relatively trivial.

The interesting thing about SPC Ardmona is that its dramatic decline in exports occurred years before the high dollar and domestic consumption of the product has also been falling for years (see Samuel J’s entry). (see PC report also)

And as for the evil supermarket duopoly, actually the scope to a deal with home branded products is a plus for the SPC not a negative.

I have highlighted the lies in Sharman Stone’s tirade.

LIBERAL MP Sharman Stone has accused Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey of “lying” about the plight of SPC Ardmona.

The Prime Minister and Treasurer have blamed overly-generous wages and conditions for pushing the company to the wall, after knocking back a $25 million plea for assistance from the Shepparton-based cannery.

But the Member for Murray, whose federal Victorian electorate takes in the cannery, said wages and conditions for workers at the factory were not to blame for its financial difficulties.

“What they said was, `we’re not going to help because it is the amazing wages and conditions that have knocked this company for six’, and that is just wrong,” she told ABC radio.

“They’re not speaking the reality … It’s not the truth.”

She said “lying was unparliamentarily language, but, “that’s right, it’s lying”.

Dr Stone said the Productivity Commission had concluded dumping, high import volumes, floods, drought and Australia’s supermarket duopoly had all contributed to the company’s difficulties.

She said the company had already done the “hard yards” in undertaking a major workforce restructure and it was unfair to suggest workers were to blame for the plight of the company.

“What they explained as the reason for not supporting SPCA, which was basically awards and conditions, was about focusing on unions. It wasn’t about the realities of the last standing fruit preserving industry,” she said.

“Perhaps it is a distraction from the facts, which would require some government action.”

Dr Stone said reporting on an array of allowances available to SPC Ardmona workers was “mischievous” and “a complete furphy”.

She said the heat allowance was not unreasonable as it gave workers a 10 minute cold drink break in extreme heat. A wet allowance was for cleaners who worked with caustic materials to buy their own protective clothing.

Dr Stone said SPC would soon publish details of the 2012 enterprise agreement.

Mr Hockey yesterday said the reported allowances were “astounding”, and it was time for businesses to stand on their own two feet

“The age of entitlement is over. The age of personal responsibility has begun,” he said.

This entry was posted in Economics and economy, Federal Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

68 Responses to Desperately seeking Sharman – she’s the one doing the lying

  1. james

    So if the Libs are the Union party now what will the ALP do?

  2. johno

    Why is she still flogging this dead horse!

    She put up a good fight for her constituents, but now it is time to accept her colleagues decision and join the team again. Why feed Labor and the unions? Dumb Dumb Dumb

  3. adrian

    where the hell did the liberals find sharman?

  4. H B Bear

    If you are going to carry on like this at least join the Nationals.

  5. .

    Never forget that Coca Cola Amatil is a profitable firm with net profit being four times the value of the bailout they are asking for.

    They can get stuffed.

  6. candy

    To accuse the PM and the treasurer of lying is a very serious matter.

  7. Indigo

    Judith, please write to her personally and explain the economic facts of life. It would be worth knowing what is the average cost of an award to the company…not just what’s in the pay packet. Would be interesting to know.

  8. Indigo

    “an award worker to the company” it should have read

  9. Token

    Why is she still flogging this dead horse!

    Being seen to be doing something.

    Its a theatre performance to deflect from the one newspaper in town.

    She saw how the Greens/Get Up candidate won in neighbouring Indi and is not stupid enough to be pinned with the label Sophie Mirabella got of not paying attention to the locals.

    If you are going to carry on like this at least join the Nationals.

    It was the agrian socialist Nationals who backed the Greens/Get Up candidate in Indi. Stone knows they will willingly lose a seat to the hard left if given a chance.

  10. ar

    Sharman Stone was oppn immigration spokesman when Krudd dismantled the Pacific Solution. Her words of encouragement were quoted by Labor for years after…

  11. Pedro

    You can’t expect much else from the local member. They have to been seen to fight for a share of the pork barrell.

  12. Andrew

    I think it was back in 2004 where in a draft redistribution, the Liberal Party did very well in Victoria overall except Sharman lost her seat. It is well known that Sharman cracked it and sadly, the Liberal Party lost many of the advantages that came from the draft redistribution because the Party put in a submission to retain her seat in the official redistribution.

    In essence, she should not even be in Parliament.

  13. Mon

    Is there truth that the employees and locals were looking at running SPC?
    The present owners must have seen value for money to buy into the business, now they are crying ‘poor me’, lets hear how much the carbon tax takes out of the business each year.

  14. C.L.

    5 days off in the Melbourne Cup week, include the Food Preservers’ Picnic Day

    Is this a joke?

  15. Evcricket

    Complain all you like but the market delivered this workplace agreement. It’s tough when the thing you love hurts you.

  16. .

    Yep, The Fair Work Act is ‘da market’ eh Ev?

  17. Token

    It is well known that Sharman cracked it and sadly, the Liberal Party lost many of the advantages that came from the draft redistribution because the Party put in a submission to retain her seat in the official redistribution.

    Mirabella lost her seat instead. Great trade morons.

  18. Token

    Complain all you like but the market delivered this workplace agreement. It’s tough when the thing you love hurts you.

    That is not a market.

  19. Bear Necessities

    Complain all you like but the market delivered this workplace agreement. It’s tough when the thing you love hurts you.

    And the market is saying the cost and quality of SPC products suck.

    Fairwork Act provides a free market. LOL.

  20. amortiser

    Complain all you like but the market delivered this workplace agreement. It’s tough when the thing you love hurts you.

    For a start, workplace agreements have nothing to do with market practices. They are imposed in a very restricted legislative environment. The consequence has been a market one as the market continues to operate irrespective of the efforts of legislators to eliminate it. That consequence is that SPC is unable to make a profit because of its cost structure which has been largely legislatively imposed.

    The typical solution of the interventionists is to legislate again to overcome the problems that the previous intervention created. So taxpayers will be made to make a contribution which will get the business back in the black.

    The market is a bit like gravity. It may be inconvenient at times but it is a fact of reality. You ignore it at your peril.

  21. PeterPetrum

    SPC workers get one rostered day off in every ten. So SPC has to employ 10% more staff to get the same productivity as if they had been working for 10 days. Assume that Shorten is correct and they only get paid $70,000 (forget the allowances) and there are a total of 2000+ workers then an additional 200 are employed to “fill the gap”. That equates to about $14,000,000 each year they are paying out in salaries alone to comply with the Union demands for one rostered, and paid, day off each fortnight. Get your facts right, Dr Stone.

  22. Evcricket

    Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good ideological rant guys
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/204414996/SPC-media-release

  23. Ed

    Stone’s accusation that Abbott lied is going straight to the (ALP) pool room. It will be bandied about for years to come.
    “One of his own colleagues publicly said he’s a liar.”
    You’ll be hearing variants of that from now until forever.

  24. candy

    They get a food preservers picnic day every year according to the Financial Review. Is that a lie?

  25. stackja

    Evcricket
    #1177704, posted on February 4, 2014 at 1:09 pm
    Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good ideological rant guys
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/204414996/SPC-media-release

    Mandy Rice-Davies after Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her, she replied, “He would, wouldn’t he?”

    It seems CCA would say anything to get money.

  26. Token

    Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good ideological rant guys

    We are the ones saying that if there is not a market for their product at the current price, the plant should restructure or be shut down as is the natural course for organisations and products that fail in a market.

    Who is doing the ideological ranting?

  27. stackja

    Ed
    #1177706, posted on February 4, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Like Marr’s Punch and Judy story.

  28. Ed

    Claim: a five-day Melbourne Cup long weekend.
    Fact: Production staff accrue rostered days off (RDOs) during the year which SPCA requires them not to take during the peak season. Instead these RDOs are taken at the start of November, the optimum time for a plant shutdown to allow maintenance in preparation for the canning season from December to April. RDOs are not additional leave.

    In other words, RDO’s are not counted as “additional leave” but they operate exactly like a leave system. Judith was right.

  29. .

    You can jam your ideology, Ev. Stop making representations as an unbiased critic. The facade is pathetic.

    .
    #1177486, posted on February 4, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Never forget that Coca Cola Amatil is a profitable firm with net profit being four times the value of the bailout they are asking for.

    They can get stuffed.

  30. Ed

    That press release didn’t refute any of the “claims” with the facts – simply downplayed the effect on their bottom line.
    I love the way they addressed the leave issue.

    Claim: SPC Ardmona employees get nine weeks paid leave a year.
    Fact: SPCA employees get 20 days annual leave

    See what they did there?
    They addressed a claim about “paid leave” with data about “annual leave.” Those RDO’s which operate as a parallel leave system, don’t count as “annual leave.”

  31. Ed

    Claim: Loading, or shift penalties are above the award.
    Fact: SPCA’s are the same as industry standards and common to many Australian EBAs. Afternoon shift is at 20% and night shift at 30%

    Here’s the same trick. The “fact” doesn’t refute the claim.
    “Industry standards” here can simply mean “other people do it too.”

  32. twostix

    Lol. Leftists are demanding, demanding! that a billion dollar multinational corporation, and not just any multibillion dollar corporation mind you, but the king of multibillion dollar corporations: Coca Cola, which up until today was considered by the left to be the poster child for evil corporate power and US cultural imperialism….be given millions of dollars by the Australian taxpayer.

    You couldn’t make this shit up.

  33. Bear Necessities

    To anyone who is worked up about supporting the SPC workers, go out and immediately stock the pantry with SPC products. Enjoy the exciting range offered.

  34. crocodile

    In other words, RDO’s are not counted as “additional leave” but they operate exactly like a leave system. Judith was right.

    I don’t think that is quite right. 1 RDO usually accrues by working an extra 30 minutes per shift. Adds up to about a day a month. Don’t know the specifics with SPC but that is the general case everywhere that I’ve seen.

  35. I am the Walrus, koo koo k'choo

    This is the problem with justifying the decision on the basis of the wages agreement. It gives the company a chance to reply.

    If the Lib SocDems had just said ‘no corporate welfare, not for you, not for anyone else, not now, not ever’, the rent seekers wouldn’t have had a comeback.

    The ultimate ‘don’t argue’.

    But they won’t say that because they are SocDems. Good one, Big Govt Tone.

  36. sabrina

    Sharman says Tony lying, Judith says Sharman lying, what does the parent company think about asking for a peanut $25 million? Do they really beleive fruit canning being a viable business in the long run for a remote island like Australia where the domestic market is small.

    Judith – what is the lie that apparently Sharman is saying about the PC?

  37. cuckoo

    Food Preservers’ Picnic Day

    You’ve got to be kidding! Unions still have ‘guild’ picnic days? And how many of the workers at SPC actually attend said picnic? Do they also have brass bands, painted banners and bread-and-dripping? Do they wear cloth caps and bowyangs?

  38. Ant

    I just got back from a construction site.

    I overhead the guy who sits in the lift hoisting people and materials up and down say that he got a “hotty” yesterday and knocked off at 10:30am – meaning that he was able to take most of yesterday off because the outside air temperature hit the 37C.

    He then bragged how he went hope and toiled in his back yard in the sun all on company time.

    If developers ever work out how they can import buildings from China, the commercial construction sector and their miserable union will be history.

  39. HK_Brother

    The quicker Australian businesses transition to advanced automated systems, the better.

  40. wreckage

    The market delivered a workplace arrangement? Sorry, that’s explicitly illegal in this country.

    I’m a bit curious as to what your point is? The market says shut down SPC. I’m not arguing with it; shut it down. I’ve been on the wrong end of the market plenty of times. It happens. So what? I should only recognize the outcomes of the market if and when it makes me rich? Is that what you’re advocating?

    The market economy is what happens. It’s a measurement, not an ideology. In the end it’s just a matter of whether you’re trading in capital or in force.

  41. tomix

    The RDO is usually deducted pro rata out of the pay packet. Likely to be taken by all at the same time, it’s a waste of time and money. Often mistakenly thought to be a “condition” paid for by the boss,
    by no hopers who let it accrue as “savings”.

  42. As any sensible person would expect, Sharman Stone’s silly assessment is deeply appreciated by the Abbott-haters.

  43. wreckage

    If developers ever work out how they can import buildings from China, the commercial construction sector and their miserable union will be history.

    Only a matter of time.

  44. import buildings

    Already (I’ve learned by watching “Grand Designs”), some British people order kit homes from Germany: the houses are constructed in Germany (with all fittings and appliances), erected in Britain by competent Germans in just a few days, and the only difficulties the new home-owners experience are when they rely on British crane-operators and the like.

  45. Greg

    Bill Shorten has now put this up on his Facebook page and the minions are spreading it.

  46. On Facebook, Bill Shorten now asserts that SPC Armona workers “get 20 days annual leave”. Of course, even if they got fifty days annual leave, saying they got twenty would not be a lie; Shorten does not say that they “get 20 days annual leave and no other paid days off at all”.
    Here’s what the AWU itself reported in 2004:

    AWU wins shorter working week at SPC
    Wednesday 18th February 2004 11:00
    In the first time in two decades for the Goulburn Valley, workers at the SPC Ardmona fruit processing and canning plant in Shepparton have won a shorter working week following six days of industrial action.
    The workers, who are members of the Australian Workers’ Union along with the AMWU, CEPU-ETU and FEDFA, won an agreement from SPC Ardmona for a 13.5 per cent improvement in salary conditions including an extra 8 days of leisure time by the third year of the agreement.

    Shorten also reports:

    Claim: a five-day Melbourne cup long weekend.
    Fact: the plant is shut for annual maintenance.

    I fail to see how the “fact” refutes the “claim”; it seems that the workers do have a long break.

  47. On Facebook, Bill Shorten now asserts that SPC Armona workers “get 20 days annual leave”.

    According to the Enterprise Agreement (FWCA 552):

    S3.4.3
    Period of leave
    (a) A period of 28 days consecutive leave, including non-working days, shall be allowed annually to an employee after twelve month’s continuous service as an employee, other than a schedule 7 employee.

  48. Bear Necessities

    CCA purchased SPC in 2005. So for the nine years that CCA has been in control of this asset they have let it whither so much that it requires $25M each from Commonwealth and State governments. Let CCA shareholders suffer the pain not the taxpayer. That’s what capitalism is all about.

    CCA shareholders should question Mr Gonski at the next AGM as to why the board took so long to recognise SPC was a problem asset.

  49. Leigh Lowe

    Complain all you like but the market delivered this workplace agreement. It’s tough when the thing you love hurts you.

    The market giveth and the market will taketh away.
    In the words of Mr Springsteen “…. these jobs are going boys, and they ain’t comin’ back”

  50. Bear Necessities

    If you go down to the Shepparton today
    You’re sure of a big surprise.
    If you go down to the Shepparton today
    You’d better go in disguise!

    For every food preserver that ever there was
    Will gather there for certain,
    Because today’s the day the
    Food Preservers have their picnic.

  51. On Facebook, Bill Shorten asserts:

    Claim: a five-day Melbourne cup long weekend.
    Fact: the plant is shut for annual maintenance.

    According to the Enterprise Agreement (FWCA 552):

    S3.24.1
    An employee employed under this Agreement shall be entitled to the following public holidays:
    • New Years Day
    • Australia Day
    • Good Friday
    • Easter Saturday
    • Easter Monday
    • Anzac Day
    • Queens Birthday
    • Labour Day
    • Melbourne Cup Day
    • Christmas Day
    • Boxing Day

    S3.24. 7
    An extra day shall be provided and taken on the Monday prior to Melbourne Cup day and will be known as the Food Preserver’s Picnic Day. Other than in the NDC where following consultation with employees impacted the Picnic Day can be moved to an alternate date.

    S3.26.3
    A RDO [rostered day off] is to be to be scheduled for the day following Melbourne Cup Day.

    The claim that SPCA workers have “five-day Melbourne cup long weekend”—that is, the normal weekend of Saturday and Sunday, plus a day off on the preceding Monday, the day off for the Tuesday of the Melbourne Cup and the RDO of the subsequent Wednesday—would seem to be true, according to the published EBA. Of course, a wise manager may well schedule annual maintenance for that period when the workers have a five-day long weekend.

  52. Leo G

    Sherman is a fool. Last April SPC Ardmona made claims for assistance on the basis that it had a valid basis under WTO rules and WTO safeguard actions were warranted. The Productivity Commission investigated and found no valid basis for such claims.
    The problem with SPC Ardmona doesn’t appear to be the extraordinarily generous conditions of employment it offers- that is perhaps a symptom of the real problem- a tolerance of rent seeking for a privileged group of companies with high public recognition.

  53. candy

    How long will she go on in the Liberal Party before becoming an independent?
    I can’t see that she’s totally endeared herself to the PM, Joe Hockey or Eric Abetz.

  54. Alain

    Barnaby Joyce endorsed Mirabella in Indi and even appeared in advertisements supporting her. Most National Party members voted for Mirabella. The minority that supported Voice 4 Indi have been ostracised internally and people who were previously seeking Nats pre-selection in state seats not even bothering because they got the clear message they wouldn’t get much support if they did run.

  55. sabrina

    Apparently allowances cost SPC 116,000$ per year, most of the problems are management ineptitude, and lack of market. If the company closes, Directors will move to other high-paying directorships, unions will suck thumbs moving to the next company they can hoodwink, make as much money as possible.

  56. wreckage

    sabrina; sure. But if it stays open the same thing happens AND the taxpayer is down $25 million.

    And if history teaches us anything it’s that there’ll be this $25 mill, then another, then maybe one more, and then the whole lot will go under anyway, only having been left to fester so long it will be in much worse shape, and the taxpayer will pick up everyone’s ridiculously generous severance benefits.

    Kill it now, kill it quick, it’s the truest form of mercy.

  57. Crossie

    Stone’s accusation that Abbott lied is going straight to the (ALP) pool room. It will be bandied about for years to come.
    “One of his own colleagues publicly said he’s a liar.”
    You’ll be hearing variants of that from now until forever.

    Stone is not thinking long term by giving Labor this ammunition. She could have criticised the Libs decision without the ugly sound bites. Labor will use her to hurt Abbott and the Liberals and then when the time comes they will turn on her. Going independent doesn’t matter if the other side puts forward their own “independent” candidate.

  58. I did a bit of digging today and uncovered the sorts of positions that get paid less than production line workers at SPC (And I also told Stone to go take a hike after she tweeted more of her nonsense) and came up with some serious jobs.

    A constable in the Queensland Police Service gets about the same (a bit less to a bit more) than workers at SPC, and the last SPC worker to get killed on the job was when exactly?

    Level 3 Enrolled Nurses in the employ of Queensland Health get much the same base rate of pay as SPC workers, and they save lives, the others stuff peaches in tins.

    Senior Care/Senior Case Staff for organisations like Blue Care get paid less than production line workers at SPC (and the auxiliary staff at like organisations get paid a good deal less) and they’re our nation’s front-line aged care professionals, often the last people our elderly have contact with on this mortal coil.

    First Year Law graduates get paid less than SPC production line workers, though I dare say no-one is going to complain about that.

    Almost everyone in the Automotive retail/retail services sector gets paid less, in-fact before commission most automotive retail sales staff get paid peanuts.

    And not to mention the 1/3 of the Australian workforce who earn minimum wage.

    There are 3,000,000 Australian workers who would kill to get a job for anywhere near $26 an hour, and the people at SPC don’t think it is generous?

  59. 1735099

    Stone has guts and integrity, a rare characteristic in a federal member, and almost unheard of in the Coalition.
    She also is telling the truth. Read the current agreement. Abbott is simply lying.
    The spin doctors are creating a narrative to demonise Unions. Stone cares for for the truth and her constituents more than she does for Credlin’s machinations – so inconvenient…..

  60. tomix

    You’re straying onto Hammys turf there.

  61. candy

    If Dr Stone firmly believes the prime minster, the treasurer and Mr Abetz are lying, morally and ethically she should resign from the Libs and stand as an independent forthwith, today.

    That’s what people with guts and integrity do. We shall see.

  62. .

    “She also is telling the truth. Read the current agreement. Abbott is simply lying.”

    No no no no no.

    SPC want 115 mn, CCA’s net profit is 460 mn, they can get fucked.

  63. The Hon. Dr. Stone tweets:

    Given SPCA has in fact “got its house in order” a new requirement for Federal funds support, I’ve asked Cabinet to revisit its NO decision

  64. .

    This is totally mad.

    They can pay themselves a subsidy out of free cash/retained profits!

  65. Noddy

    Good grief… Sharman Stone’s shares are up!
    Have you ever met a politician who did not lie?
    Regarding wages and salaries… municipal managers receive more than SPC workers.
    Victoria needs to have an election quick!

  66. Leigh Lowe

    The Hon. Dr. Stone tweets:

    Given SPCA has in fact “got its house in order” a new requirement for Federal funds support, I’ve asked Cabinet to revisit its NO decision

    What a fucking cheek!
    Spends the week burning bridges and now she calls for a reconsideration.
    The next party room meeting will be interesting. She can stand by for a massive “Get Fucked Sharman”, particularly from those sitting on electoral margins way lower than hers.

  67. Tel

    If developers ever work out how they can import buildings from China, the commercial construction sector and their miserable union will be history.

    Might as well make some use of those shipping containers that all the other Chinese imports come packed in.

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