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.