SPC Ardmona does the spinning

I guess if I were representing SPC Ardmona, I would have a crack at trying to defend the indefensible by producing a spin-rich media release.  After all, enterprise bargaining agreements are signed by the workers – read trade union, in this case – and the company.  The company must therefore take a fair share of the blame for the deplorable state of work practices and excessive wages and conditions.

According to the company, the total cost of all the allowances – bright can, cold, hot, wet place, etc – does not add up to a hill of beans.  So why are they there in the agreement?  They may cost only $116,000 a year; they probably cost more to the company to administer.

And here is where the company’s spin comes in.  In responding to the claim that sick leave is cashed out each year, evidently this condition existed prior to the 2012 agreement.  But under the current EBA, retrenched workers are paid out for 20 days of unused sick leave and existing workers are also able to cash out some unused sick leave.  So the company is being a bit fast and loose with the truth here.

And here is another fudge by the company – the old redundancy condition was reduced in 2012 to a 52 week cap.  Yes, but only for new employees taken on after July 2012.  For all other employees – and this is the vast majority, given the loss of one third of positions since 2011 – the old arrangement continues to apply.  That is, the maximum redundancy entitlement for them is 104 weeks, with 2 weeks for every six months of service.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the company attempts to lay the blame for its parlous state on factors external to management – cheap, unsafe imports, barriers to export, the high value of the dollar.  According to the company, “a flood of cheap imported product to be sold in Australia below the cost of production here” and the decimation of “the company export markets” caused by the high dollar are chiefly to blame.

Funnily enough, the Productivity Commission doesn’t see it that way.  In reviewing the company’s application for protection made last year, it was noted that domestic retail sales of processed fruit, both local and imported, have declined by 20 per cent in the past five years.

And while it is true that Australian exports of processed peaches, pears, apricots and mixtures fell by nearly 60 per cent between 2009 and 2012, the decline had begun much earlier.  Australian exports of processed fruit have decreased by nearly 90 per cent since 2003.

 In finding against the company, the Productivity Commission noted that there was no evidence of increasing price pressures from imported products for any of the product categories.

“Other factors have caused the injury, including: decreasing domestic demand for processed fruit; rising domestic costs of production; and decreasing export volumes”, according to the PC.

So who is telling lies?  Shadow Industry Minister, Kim Carr, and local Liberal MP Sharmon Stone are a tag-team when it comes to accusing the Prime Minister of uttering porkies about the excessive workers’ conditions and restrictive practices.  The trouble is that the evidence is there for everyone to read.

The SPC Ardmona EBA does provide for wages which are 40 per cent above the award; does contain superannuation contributions of 11.5 per cent (above the norm of 9.25 per cent); does allow for some cashing out of sick leave; does provide excessive redundancy payouts for the majority of workers; does provide for a day of leave to attend the Food Preservers’ Picnic and numerous RDOs; and the list goes on.  And if the various allowances are so trivial, they should have been cashed out and eliminated years ago.

All this reminds me of the wage freeze that supposedly was agreed by the GMH workers – it was more of a faux wage freeze, contingent on the company agreeing to invest to keep the plant going.  Now all bets are off.  It was also trivial in view of all the other restrictive elements in the GMH EBA.

 

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151 Responses to SPC Ardmona does the spinning

  1. .

    Am I mad for mentioning that the latest annual report showed CCA (ASX:CCL) had net profit of 460 mn and they want a 115 mn subsidy?

    Just pay for it out of retained profits! An 81% dividend payout ratio is egregious, anyway.

  2. Leo G

    What I find curious is the retail pricing across the Australian market of the kind of tinned fruit produced by SPC Ardmona.
    The typical 825g tinned product sells in Aldi outlets for $1.99, while the same product in Woolworths and Coles outlets normally sells at $3.50- a 75% higher price.
    Why doesn’t the lowest cost available alternative set the retail price point?

  3. candy

    Dr Stone has been telling the media today that the prime minister is lying and that there is risk of suicide by workers at SPC because of the government’s refusal to give money.

  4. val majkus

    does anyone recall when this fashion for looking to the Govt to prop up failing industries began?

  5. Baldrick

    A profitable parent company that provides its workers with 20-30-40% above award wages does not deserve a hand-out from award earning taxpayers.

  6. Rabz

    there is risk of suicide by workers at SPC

    They need to get on the phone and ring JC’s Lefty Suicide Hotline, toot sweet.

  7. Percy

    FMD, these clowns make me sick. I work in Mining. Thousands upon thousands of workers have been laid off around the country these last few months. How much bleating has Labor or any of the LINOs been doing about the loss of non-union labour? Sweet FA. And just imagine the squeels from the left if one of the big miners approached Government for a handout for a failing minesite despite the company being otherwise highly profitable.

    The SPC decision was the right one. Any job losses need to be laid at the feet of CCA.

    Further, Dr Stone needs to be pulled aside and told to STFU lest she wants to become an instant Independant.

  8. Token

    I guess if I were representing SPC Ardmona, I would have a crack at trying to defend the indefensible by producing a spin-rich media release.

    Every punter plays up their wins and tries to deflect from stories of their losses. Corporate types climbing the corporate ladder do the same.

    Who wants to be know as the dill who is a patsy who got shafted in the IR negotiations?

  9. Token

    there is risk of suicide by workers at SPC

    I heard Bob Katter drag out that old populist gem from his rural hick playbook to Tractor Fran this morning.

    It is obviously such as great tactic is so good it has “jumped the fence” and now being used for more than just farmers.

    Anyone got some stats to back up the soon to be indepent member for Shepparton’s claim?

  10. Token

    does anyone recall when this fashion for looking to the Govt to prop up failing industries began?

    Former Country Party leader “Black” Jack McEwan was famous for it, and he used it to keep a number of industry in towns in North East Vic like Wangaratta in the 50′s and 60′s.

  11. val majkus

    Mitsubishi Motors Australia has once again succeeded in wringing a multi-million taxpayer-funded assistance package out of the South Australian and federal governments.

    In all, the package amounts to a tidy $85 million. The State Labor government will provide $50 million made up of $40 million in cash over five years and $10 million in concessions over 10 years, while the Federal government will hand over another $35 million. The offer is independent of the funding available to car companies through the Federal government’s $2 billion Automotive Competitiveness and Investment Scheme.

    By Terry Cook
    3 May 2002
    so how did that work out – they ceased to make Mit cars in Aust in 2008 going to the ‘full import model’

  12. A Lurker

    Dr Stone has been telling the media today that the prime minister is lying and that there is risk of suicide by workers at SPC because of the government’s refusal to give money.

    Oh noes, quick someone call the Wambulance!

    Dr Stone ought to be reminded of the fact that small businesses go under every day and the media doesn’t care, nor does Government care, nor do Unions care. Dr Stone also ought to be reminded of the fact of farmer suicides in this country (I’m sure Barnaby Joyce has the stats).

    Dr Stone ought to go to her constituents at the SPC Ardmona cannery and relate to them those facts, and also tell them to harden the **** up.

  13. val majkus

    By Terry Cook
    3 May 2002

    sorry, don’t know what happened to my link above, here’s the correct one

  14. rebel with cause

    Sounds like CCA just don’t want to admit to themselves that they made a stupid investment in the first place. Looks like all their $500 million investment got them is a rusty old begging bowl.

  15. Tom

    Dr Stone needs to be pulled aside and told to STFU lest she wants to become an instant Independant.

    Candy (very astutely) suggested that last night.

    But Stone’s actions have actually increased her vote among the bush locals by standing up to the big meanies in Canberra. She tried to protest last night that she was verballed by the ABC, but she willingly walked into the ambush knowing the personal electoral upside.

    Two can play that game. AbbottSatan should insist that, if Stone doesn’t like the government’s policy decisions, she’s free to sit on the cross benches and have her constituents lose the advantage of having a government member.

  16. Token

    Sounds like CCA just don’t want to admit to themselves that they made a stupid investment in the first place. Looks like all their $500 million investment got them is a rusty old begging bowl.

    Strangely enough by being dodgy they may have got the unions onside but have made the broader community less sympathetic.

    You can bet CCA does not want anyone to look at the other agreements it made under Work “Choices”.

  17. Mike of Marion

    She is a legend in her own lunch time. She’ll get booted from the government if not very careful.

  18. Token

    Mike, after the work the Get Up/Green/National alliance did to Mirabella, you can bet Stone is more afraid of them than the Liberals.

    She will also see how the Liars Party made Katter & Winsor almost unbeatable once they went “independent”.

  19. candy

    Can’t see demand for canned fruit ever increasing at all anyway. It’s nice for little children who haven’t got many teeth and the old folk the same, but after that not so much.

    She’s damaging the government’s austerity measures they’re trying to get accepted which is hard enough already.

  20. Rabz

    I heard Bob Katter drag out that old populist gem from his rural hick playbook to Tractor Fran ($265,200) this morning.

    Tokes, I don’t know how (or why) you do it!

  21. Bruce

    Sharmie got re-elected in 2013 with 70% of the vote so I guess the Seat is safe from the independent/Green group that nailed Sophie in nearby Indi however Sharmie’s pre-selection will probably an entirely different matter.It seems she might have already realised this and has been quoted as hinting that she might have a political future outside the Liberal Party.She probably sees herself as the Independent Member for Murray, no doubt elected by the grateful, no longer employed, members of the AMWU. Sharmie thought she was a shoe-in for a Ministry in the Abbott Government but her efforts in various Shadow Ministries had failed to impress anyone except herself. Pissed-off big time and getting square.

  22. Over-Boots

    Remember that SPC Armonda was an unlisted company established by growers in the region. In 1993 the company was floated on the stock market and in 2005 was acquired by Coca Cola Amatil for $500 million!.
    “Mr. Terry Davis, Managing Director of CCA, said: “We welcome the overwhelming support the
    proposal received from SPC Ardmona shareholders. In my discussions with many of the grower
    shareholders in SPC Ardmona, it was clear that they share our enthusiasm for the growth
    opportunity this acquisition will create.”
    In other words people in the area cashed out their ownership and control. That was their decision (and a good one from their wealth viewpoint).
    Growers can’t have it both ways, accumulate wealth by selling property and then expect others (taxpayers) to pick up the pieces later on when that property is out of their control.
    It would seem that this acquisitionMr. Terry Davis, Managing Director of CCA, said: “We welcome the overwhelming support the
    proposal received from SPC Ardmona shareholders. In my discussions with many of the grower
    shareholders in SPC Ardmona, it was clear that they share our enthusiasm for the growth
    opportunity this acquisition will create. was a particularly poor decision by Terry Davis & co and the company is taking and will take large losses. That is their problem.
    As for the people of Shepparton et al why did they sell out in the first place. We know the reason for that.

  23. Token

    Rabz I was an office in “one of those meetings” when it was playing in the background.

    For fun I lined up a list of the emotive tricks I am used to hearing Katter make on my notebook and ticked them off as he worked through his script.

    Stone does need to do some acting lessons to learn how to drop an octive or two when making the unsubstantiated emotive remarks like Bob does. The normally bombastic Katter even makes it sound like he is going to cry by becoming unusually quiet.

    Great rhetoric.

  24. Over-Boots

    My previous post had a major problem now resubmitted

    Remember that SPC Armonda was an unlisted company established by growers in the region. In 1993 the company was floated on the stock market and in 2005 was acquired by Coca Cola Amatil for $500 million!.
    “Mr. Terry Davis, Managing Director of CCA, said: “We welcome the overwhelming support the
    proposal received from SPC Ardmona shareholders. In my discussions with many of the grower
    shareholders in SPC Ardmona, it was clear that they share our enthusiasm for the growth
    opportunity this acquisition will create.”
    In other words people in the area cashed out their ownership and control. That was their decision (and a good one from their wealth viewpoint).
    Growers can’t have it both ways, accumulate wealth by selling property and then expect others (taxpayers) to pick up the pieces later on when that property is out of their control.
    It would seem that this was a particularly poor decision by Terry Davis & co and the company is taking and will take large losses. That is their problem.
    As for the people of Shepparton et al why did they sell out in the first place. We know the reason for that.

  25. Ingrid

    This is an article that needs to be send to everybody in your address list please.
    The damage this has done to our PM is really unbelievable. ABC Radio is still going on and on about it and just won’t shut up.
    I wish TAbbott would give a press conference and state the facts as clear as they are outlined in this article. No interference from journos allowed.

  26. Token

    …was acquired by Coca Cola Amatil for $500 million!.

    Twas “consulting” with the corporate monster at the time. That is a business where ROI is keenly watched.

    SPC Ardmona was purchased to provide for the supply chain to their soft drinks business. The cannery is an annoying unprofitable extra.

    I’m not surprised we are seeing some Kubuki theatre as the unemotive types in Circular Quay work to remove that drag on EBIT from the business.

  27. feelthebern

    Can someone tell me what a “shiney can” allowance is?

  28. Rob MW

    “And while it is true that Australian exports of processed peaches, pears, apricots and mixtures fell by nearly 60 per cent between 2009 and 2012, the decline had begun much earlier. Australian exports of processed fruit have decreased by nearly 90 per cent since 2003.”

    That about says it all. From a production and manufacturing point of view, Australia has just about finished pricing itself out of not only the export market, but also the domestic market. In other words, all markets. Looks like we are going to pay the piper for our own stupidity in not addressing the fundamentals in the excessive costs of production including the high costs associated with regulatory burden, which also includes the high cost attributable to perform to a so-called social licence, an imaginary device that has been dreamed up by our irrational moral elitists.

    The next one to go will be Australia’s last remaining manufacturer of frozen vegetables, Simplot Australia, which will more than likely relocate to New Zealand in order to capture the Chinese export vegetable market and manufacture and import into Australia via New Zealand.

  29. Leigh Lowe

    This is all a storm in a shiny jam tin.
    It is a three-day wonder, the end results of which are:-
    (1) Sharman Stone-Fruit’s career will end on election day 2016;
    (2) Every Corporate in Australia now knows that, if they turn up to Canberra with their begging bowl after presiding over massive EBA concessions to the Unions, they have just wasted an airfare.
    This is a shot across the bows of Australian manufacturing companies who meekly sat on their hands whilst Workchoices was demolished or, in the case of Heather Sellout (then AiG CEO), cheered on from the sidelines.
    The next salvo in this war?
    Watch for the conditions Construction companies will have to meet to participate in federally funded infrastructure projects like Badgeries Creek.
    There is more than one way to skin the Union cat.

  30. drpage

    Judith, I think it is you who is doing the spinning.

    You went off half-cocked the other day without really understanding the EBA, or presumably talking to someone at SPC for their side of the story. You got a lot of things wrong in your Australian oped and as far as I can see have not apologised for any of it.

    You can legitimately argue against handouts without denigrating the business sense and commitment of other companies you know little about.

    Worse, it was stupid politics of Abbott and others to jump on board. Distasteful to see the Prime Minister and senior Ministers attacking an domestic company and Australian workers.

  31. Leigh Lowe

    Worse, it was stupid politics of Abbott and others to jump on board. Distasteful to see the Prime Minister and senior Ministers attacking an domestic company and Australian workers

    How does not giving indolent layabouts and multi-nationals a bucket-load of our taxpayers cash cash constitute an “attack”?
    If the EBA is squeaky clean and super-efficient everything will just roll along swimmingly for the can watchers and their overlords from CCA.

  32. MartinG

    If they need to raise revenue for restructuring they can do it through the stock market like any normal company. CFX just did it with its Security Purchase Plan (rights issue) which was oversubscribed. Just the retail issue alone raised more than they needed and they had to ration the shares issued to each applicant.

  33. Token

    Distasteful to see the Prime Minister and senior Ministers attacking an domestic company and Australian workers.

    When did he do that?

    Either provide links or acknowledge you are making crap up.

  34. Leo G

    Can someone tell me what a “shiney can” allowance is?

    Its a benefit that can only be justified by shining us on.

  35. Bear Necessities

    SPC has been owned by CCA since 2005. The Board is getting away with their mismanagement of the SPC management. Shareholders should be asking questions to the Board not the government as to why this Brand is losing money.

    The real culprits are Mr Gonski and his Board.

  36. Gab

    You got a lot of things wrong in your Australian oped

    Care to list them or are you just shooting your mouth off?

  37. Bear Necessities

    Worse, it was stupid politics of Abbott and others to jump on board. Distasteful to see the Prime Minister and senior Ministers attacking an domestic company and Australian workers.

    So you like your taxpayer dollar pissed up against the wall?

  38. Gab

    Shiny can allowance is for the forklift drivers stacking pallets of shiny cans, an allowance removed in 1991 when SPC was in financial strife back then and reinstated later. Presumably the cans are bright and the allowance is paid for the glare…or something.

  39. Infidel Tiger

    So you like your taxpayer dollar pissed up against the wall?

    Doubtful he’s a net taxpayer.

  40. harrys on the boat

    Is drpage, shitfer? That comment was a disgraceful pile of shite, right up there with shitfers usual musings.

  41. Leo G

    The SPC Ardmona agreement at Kyabram involved removing paid meal breaks from June 2014 and cutting back (for new employees only) maximum redundancy payment from 104 weeks to 52 weeks.
    That was reported by the AMWU a year ago and is consistent with the Australian article by Judith Sloane.
    Dr Stone claimed that CCA would publish full details of the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement to prove that Judith’s piece was substantially wrong in its facts and misleading.
    Where’s that full publication?

  42. Leigh Lowe

    Can someone tell me what a “shiney can” allowance is?

    Dunno.
    Would it help if these layabouts stuck their cans where the sun don’t shine?

  43. Infidel Tiger

    Just heard that mouth breather Stone on the wireless bleating like a goat stuck in ringlock.

    The Liberals really are the dregs of society.

  44. Tom

    Is drpage, shitfer?

    No, Harry, there are much bigger stories on the go over there.

    BREAKING: Kenyancare won’t fail; climate change not crap — Dogshit Today.

  45. Leigh Lowe

    Am I mad for mentioning that the latest annual report showed CCA (ASX:CCL) had net profit of 460 mn and they want a 115 mn subsidy?

    Just pay for it out of retained profits! An 81% dividend payout ratio is egregious, anyway.

    Or not.
    It doesn’t follow that, just because a company is profitable they should invest in basket-cases.
    And once CCA have decided that SPCA isn’t good enough to invest their own money, neither is worthy of my money as a taxpayer.
    That is just (ahem) kicking the shiny can down the road.

  46. Judith Sloan

    drpage … which bit did I get wrong in the Australian? Give me the details. The SPC Ardmona press release is a joke.

  47. Maws

    Tom
    I lived in Dr Stone’s electorate for a number of years.
    Whilst she is widely liked, she would be lucky to be re-elected as an Independent.

  48. Riverina Matt

    I was in the Shepparton area on the weekend for a social engagement. The SPCA situation was a keen topic of conversation.

    I was surprised at the lack of support for SPCA and the cannery workers shown and the forthrightly expressed distaste for giving $25m of taxpayer money to a very profitable private company. This was in Shepparton!

    If people in Shepparton feel this way, Abbott and Hockey are onto a winner here. Let the ALP be the party of big corporate handout and cosy union deals.

  49. Tom

    I believe you’re right, Maws. I expect the Vic Libs will cut her loose in the pre-2016 preselection.

  50. Percy

    A suitable Liberty Quote just popped up as I entered the thread.

    “Let government succor failures, and we shall be headed for stagnation and decline.”
    — Milton Friedman

  51. Token

    Garry Hargraves noted last night on Paul Murray Live that Stone went into parliament as part of the class of 1996.

    Her career has gone no where so one suspects going independent may be the only way for her extend her career as one suspects she would’ve been bumped during pre-selection.

  52. Token

    I was surprised at the lack of support for SPCA and the cannery workers shown and the forthrightly expressed distaste for giving $25m of taxpayer money to a very profitable private company. This was in Shepparton!

    Those corporates go to those towns for a reason. I remember a similar sized US corporate in a nearby town note they target such communities as they can bully the council for discounts on everything.

    Talk to the ratepayers if they pay the same rates as the corporation? Which organisation never has their water entitlements at times when the farmers can’t get a drop in the drought?

  53. Hubert East

    This whole thing has a well known stink about it.
    A large corporation; links to bureaucracy; union bosses to stroke and finally a Chairman with connections. Add to this a politician running around like “a chook with its head cut off’, completely out of her depth.
    What a brew of utter nonsense!
    I am so glad that Hockey told all and sundry to pull in their collective heads.

  54. crocodile

    That about says it all. From a production and manufacturing point of view, Australia has just about finished pricing itself out of not only the export market, but also the domestic market. In other words, all markets.

    There doesn’t seem to be much interest in looking into Australia’s woeful productivity growth performance. Been on the slippery slope to oblivion for over a decade now.

  55. Over-Boots

    Yes, well said Hubert East.
    Can we all get back to the crux of the matter. Whether the employment condition of the SPC workers are excessive or not according to the company’s owners $50 million of taxpayers funds is required to keep the operation going.
    Coca Cola Amatil appears to have made a bad acquisition. That is their problem. If the growers and local community had not cashed out of the company in 2005 the operation would probably been closed by now.
    I run a business. Are you going to get me out of strife due to my bad decisions. No? I didn’t think so!

  56. feelthebern

    Shiny can allowance is for the forklift drivers stacking pallets of shiny cans, an allowance removed in 1991 when SPC was in financial strife back then and reinstated later. Presumably the cans are bright and the allowance is paid for the glare…or something.

    FFS

  57. feelthebern

    I like how these EBA’s are now getting scrutiny.
    Shows how:
    1) Crazy the union demands are;
    2) Crazy the workers for being party to it are;
    3) Crazy businesses are by agreeing to them.

  58. Leigh Lowe

    Sharman Stone-Fruit was bleating about the unemployment rate in Shepparton.
    Question for the dumb-arse Sharman.
    Does the unemployment rate drop during the picking season because the dole bludgers are out picking peaches?
    Thought not.
    Fuck ‘em.

  59. Rabz

    one suspects going independent may be the only way for her extend her career

    Yep, good ol’ Conservative Rural Independents™.

  60. Latest on skynews

    Should the government provide assistance to SPC Ardmona?
    Yes 24%
    No 76%

    Stone is flogging a dead horse.

  61. .

    “drpage
    #1178846, posted on February 5, 2014 at 11:37 am
    Judith, I think it is you who is doing the spinning.

    You went off half-cocked the other day without really understanding the EBA…”

    No.

    Shut up you dropkick. CCA make 460 mn net profit after tax and want a 115 mn subsidy.

    They can smoke a fat one.

  62. Rabz

    Coca Cola Amatil appears to have made a bad acquisition. That is their problem.

    Not if they can make it the taxpayers’ problem!

    Can’t blame them for trying it on, though.

  63. Infidel Tiger

    I lived in Dr Stone’s electorate for a number of years.
    Whilst she is widely liked, she would be lucky to be re-elected as an Independent

    She’d be lucky to be elected to the committee of the Shepparton Bowls Club.

    She’s a real thicko. Dead wood.

  64. Dan

    Is this Gonski chap a moron, duplicitous, promoted above his station?

    He sits on the board of Therese Rein Ingeus. So I guess he thinks he can grease the wheels of Canberra.

    Advised Westfield spending losing millions on the Ten Network

    Authored a report that more money equals better outcomes for students

  65. Pedro

    I think Hockey (who’s looking better by the day) made a mistake when attacking the conditions in the EBA. Why should it be different if the company was simply paying the award? The principle ought to be that the govt does not co-invest in (bail out) companies, especially when owned by profitable parents. When you depart from the principle you change the negotiation on to the ground the company and the union will prefer to fight you.

  66. Dan

    From Wiki

    He presently is Chairman of the National e-Health Transition Authority, a statutory authority of the Australian government;[13] and Chair of the Sydney Theatre Company (since February 2010).[4] Gonski is a non-executive director of Infrastructure NSW, an agency of the New South Wales Government. He is a member of the Nomination Panel for appointments to the Boards of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Special Broadcasting Service and Patron of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation.[citation needed]

    This clown is part of the problem

  67. philip j. fry

    I suspect the unions will fight this to the death since the precedent would mean the end of their cosy relationship with taxpayer funds .. I’m looking at you Kimmy Carr

  68. .

    “He presently is Chairman of the National e-Health Transition Authority”

    Well, that one worked out well!

    Why was this fool ever given any credence?

  69. ralph

    How about a link to the agreement, then we can make up our own mind and ensure that you aren’t also spinning it.

  70. crocodile

    Am I mad for mentioning that the latest annual report showed CCA (ASX:CCL) had net profit of 460 mn and they want a 115 mn subsidy?

    Just pay for it out of retained profits! An 81% dividend payout ratio is egregious, anyway.

    It seems that $115m was made up of $90m from CCA and $25m from guess who.

  71. Infidel Tiger

    Gonski is brilliant at distributing other people’s money. That’s the reason Kerry Packer had him as co-executor of his will.

  72. Bruce

    You might need a link to both Agreements as one come into effect in mid-2012 and only covers employees engaged since then.The vast majority are still on the pre-2012 Agreement and sticking to it.

  73. .

    croc – given their huge dividend payout, they can easily afford it.

  74. Dan

    Why was this fool ever given any credence?

    He is a lawyer?

  75. philip j. fry

    Here’s the link to the SPC agreement, the FWA site though is experiencing some difficulties.

    http://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/agreements/fwa/AE899535.pdf

  76. rebel with cause

    So you can’t buy Coke because they are asking for government money, and you can’t buy Schweppes, because they are owned by Cadbury who have already taken $15m in government money for their factory. Jeez, the market for fizzy drinks is beginning to look like the Australian car industry!

  77. Mon

    Greg Combet SPC ACTU welcomes the appointment says Google.
    I am not suprised there is a war going on. Macfarlane appointed Combet – where is the common sense in that appointment.
    From my observation- Macfarlane and Stone have been indoctrinated by Combet. I would like to hear the Combet name in this arguement.
    Makes my blood boil.

  78. crocodile

    croc – given their huge dividend payout, they can easily afford it.

    Sure. But an inaccuracy feeds the naysayers with ammunition.

  79. Pedro

    “Sure. But an inaccuracy feeds the naysayers with ammunition.”

    Yes, fighting on the wrong ground.

  80. rebel with cause

    You’ll all be sorry when war breaks out and we can’t provide the troops with tinned two-fruit mix. An army marches on its stomach.

  81. Infidel Tiger

    So you can’t buy Coke because they are asking for government money, and you can’t buy Schweppes, because they are owned by Cadbury who have already taken $15m in government money for their factory. Jeez, the market for fizzy drinks is beginning to look like the Australian car industry!

    Soda Stream – made with Palestinian blood.

  82. will

    So you can’t buy Coke because they are asking for government money, and you can’t buy Schweppes, because they are owned by Cadbury who have already taken $15m in government money for their factory. Jeez, the market for fizzy drinks is beginning to look like the Australian car industry!

    buy a soda stream

    you know it makes sense

  83. Motelier

    Large-scale manufacturing has been in decline in my experience from the late 70′s

    An example – Bundaberg had two large scale manufacturers building these farm implements for local and export markets.

    Now we import them.

    There are very few constants over the period I am talking about. The $A has been as low and 0.55US and as high as 1.10US.

    Both manufacturers were heavily unionised as is SPC and the automotive manufacturers today. This has been the constant.

    I guess you could say that the unions are working the workers in other countries.

  84. Sharmie thought she was a shoe-in for a Ministry in the Abbott Government but her efforts in various Shadow Ministries had failed to impress anyone except herself.

    A bit rich from “We don’t need the Pacific Solution now” Stone.

  85. sabrina

    As I wrote few days ago, CCA management can accommodate the requested handout by reducing dividend payout, management salary and some award conditions. I doubt they really believe in the future of fruit canning.
    I will give TA the benefit of doubt, I think he was misinformed. On the other hand, Liberal party is a broad church, and it is good that Dr Stone has pointed to the the relatively low proportion of allowance. But branding the PM a liar is overreaction, to say the least.
    Government’s decison at the end is a right one. This and the Hockey principle of call to end entitlement should be extended to PPL and Cadbury as well.

  86. Ursus Auguistus

    The allowances and conditions are not there to necessarily cost the company money each year they are there to enable the unions to say “jump bitch” whenever they feel like it. They are there to gratuitously hold the company to ransom and generate as many points of argument and dispute as possible and to puff up the importance of the uniion negotiators and the cadre of shop stewards etc. They are there to intimidate the company into believing that if they fight back then there will be a plethora of points of dispute to be used in subsequent industrial action and negotiations. It is just like you put a nose ring of a bull or a collar on a slave, maximum inflicted discomfort and pain for minimum effort.

  87. Leigh Lowe

    You’ll all be sorry when war breaks out and we can’t provide the troops with tinned two-fruit mix. An army marches on its stomach.

    Two Fruits.
    Two Cans … per man … per day …. perhaps.

  88. Leigh Lowe

    You’ll all be sorry when war breaks out and we can’t provide the troops with tinned two-fruit mix. An army marches on its stomach.

    Really?
    We feed our soldiers that shit?
    I assumed we must have fired the tins out of mortars.

  89. Leigh Lowe

    Sharmie thought she was a shoe-in for a Ministry in the Abbott Government but her efforts in various Shadow Ministries had failed to impress anyone except herself.

    Via Wikipedia ….

    Stone was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage in October 1998. Following the re-election of the Howard Government in October 2004, she became Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration. On 27 January 2006 she was appointed Minister for Workforce Participation, succeeding Peter Dutton.

    After the defeat of the Howard Government in November 2007, Stone took up the role of Shadow Minister for Environment, Heritage, the Arts and Indigenous Affairs. Following Malcolm Turnbull’s defeat of Brendan Nelson for the leadership of the Liberal Party, and the retirement of Senator Chris Ellison, Stone became Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship in the subsequent reshuffle.

    I suspect the sense of unfullfilled entitlement is more about Sharmy’s dashed Ministerial ambitions than the can-watchers at SPC.

  90. the sting

    I think many of the workers are better off financially than the fruit growers.

  91. Infidel Tiger

    Two Fruits.
    Two Cans … per man … per day …. perhaps.

    No fruits allowed.

  92. Soda Stream – made with Palestinian blood sweat, and well remunerated.

    There, fixed, but you know you wanted it.

  93. Dan

    If you can’t harass Garrett over pink batts and Macklin over SIHP then your probably not cut out for a ministry

  94. Leigh Lowe

    No fruits allowed.

    Yes indeed.
    One can’t have two fruits in a three man tent.

  95. Token

    Jeez, the market for fizzy drinks is beginning to look like the Australian car industry!

    As I noted above, CCA purchased SPC Ardmona to provide supplies to its fruit drink products which it developed as soft drink sales dropped due to the work of the anti-sugar health lobby.

    Yes, CCA got into this mess in a way to deal with the change in market due to pressure from the lefties. The canned fruit business suffers for a number of reasons, but the fresh is best health campaign has a role to play.

  96. The fruit growers may lose SPC as a customer when it closes down.

    However, if the closure is partly due to the declining popularity of canned fruit and a preference for fresh fruit, then the overall business of fruit growers would not change.

  97. Token

    However, if the closure is partly due to the declining popularity of canned fruit and a preference for fresh fruit, then the overall business of fruit growers would not change.

    It is around 2 hours on a beautiful dual lane federal highway to the Melbourne fruit markets from Shepparton. I think they can’t avoid tolls by swinging via the western ring road.

  98. ken n

    Token – I never understood why CCA bought it. What raw materials does it supply the juice plants?

    In case anyone cares a “bright can” in the canning business is a can without a label. Often seasonally packed products will be left unlabeled and then labeled and put into cases when needed. No idea why moving them needs a special allowance but I guess there is some sort of reason.

  99. The Pugilist

    After the defeat of the Howard Government in November 2007, Stone took up the role of Shadow Minister for Environment, Heritage, the Arts and Indigenous Affairs. Following Malcolm Turnbull’s defeat of Brendan Nelson for the leadership of the Liberal Party, and the retirement of Senator Chris Ellison, Stone became Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship in the subsequent reshuffle.

    Was she part of the Turnbullcoat camp? It would make sense. On that note, Malcolm is being very quiet lately, particularly on this issue of industry assistance…

  100. Badjack

    Judith, the screaming shrew on Paul Murray Live last night does not agree with you about the SPCA workers award being too generous. Perritt is her name and she was going off like a fizz banger last night

  101. Empire Strikes Back

    However, if the closure is partly due to the declining popularity of canned fruit and a preference for fresh fruit, then the overall business of fruit growers would not change.

    I don’t know about apricots, pears and peaches, but for tomatoes, I doubt it. I’ve seen (and tasted) the source produce for Australian canned tomatoes and I wouldn’t buy it fresh.

  102. Infidel Tiger

    Why would you buy Australian canned tomatoes when you can buy Italian canned tomatoes at half the price and 100 times the quality?

    SPC make revolting product. Good riddance.

  103. Token

    Perritt is her name and she was going off like a fizz banger last night

    She is one mendacious lady who is basically your typical lefty pretending to be a “non partisan.

    She also said the government should spend $25m as the country is not broke (is she related to that that dill Pascoe as she has all his dim talking points).

  104. stackja

    The folks in Atlanta want what Detroit got.

  105. Over-Boots

    Yes that’s correct. I am staggered that SPC got away with the dumping allegations. To believe that indicates their management do not know their products. Italian canned tomato products are superior to SPC. That is not just my opinion but that of many others. Just look on the supermarket shelves. Even Coles, Woolworths and Aldi are careful to state that their products are sourced in Italy

  106. Ed

    This was an important political battle for the Abbott government.
    If the losers want to go all out and destroy themselves in a futile attempt to turn it around, so be it.
    They are only making the much-needed lesson clearer for others in the future.

  107. She also said the government should spend $25m as the country is not broke

    The country may not be broke, but the government is.

    On the other hand, CCA is not.

  108. This was IS an important political battle for the Abbott government.

    Whether it’s Qantas, Holden, SPC… they all go back to the same theme.

    The Abbott government is there to provide a hand-up (open up new opportunities by signing up Free Trade Agreements to remove barriers to overseas markets; get rid of carbon tax, mining tax, green tape, red tape, duplication and wastage in government), not a handout.

  109. Infidel Tiger

    Perritt is her name and she was going off like a fizz banger last night

    Perrott is typical of the Australian business community. A clueless wizened old leftist loud mouth who thinks an exciting innovation is receiving a grant by EFT rather cheque.

  110. manalive

    Why would you buy Australian canned tomatoes when you can buy Italian canned tomatoes at half the price and 100 times the quality?SPC make revolting product. Good riddance …

    Precisely it’s the product, I would buy the Italian even if it was twice the price of SPC.
    All the above about the labour agreements, productivity etc. are all no doubt true, but if your product hasn’t kept pace with customers’ tastes and is simply inferior it doesn’t matter how cheap it is, customers won’t buy it.

  111. Infidel Tiger

    Would have been a lot easier selling this if that fool Abbott hadn’t given those chocolate fiends in Tassie another shot of heroin.

    Someone needs to watch Abbott at all times. He has disturbing leftist tendencies that can probably only be beaten out of him by an electoral thrashing.

  112. Maws

    “Does the unemployment rate drop during the picking season because the dole bludgers are out picking peaches?”

    Exactly right, most of the picking is done by people from overseas – these jobs must be below the unemployed in Shepparton

    Then again, it’s the only town I’ve been in where there was an all in brawl between 15 “traditional owners of Australia” at 8.30am – it appeared that all were quite inebriated

  113. Token

    Exactly right, most of the picking is done by people from overseas – these jobs must be below the unemployed in Shepparton

    Due to this people here on 1 year working visas (under 31 from developed countries) can get it extended to 2 years by spending a few months doing work that the dole bludgers are too good to do.

    All up it helps the farmers as they get motivated workers instead dead sh*ts who whine endlessly.

  114. Badjack

    Infidel, “Abbott has disturbing leftist tendencies”. I think he may be shit scared of his in-laws in NZ. They are lefties through and through.

  115. Fisky

    Stone became Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship in the subsequent reshuffle.

    Oh Jesus, we dodged a bullet there. Fark.

  116. Gab
    Stone became Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship in the subsequent reshuffle.

    Oh Jesus, we dodged a bullet there. Fark.

    My thoughts exactly! Can you imagine her trying to deal with the illegal maritime situation? *shudders*

  117. Leigh Lowe

    Then again, it’s the only town I’ve been in where there was an all in brawl between 15 “traditional owners of Australia” at 8.30am – it appeared that all were quite inebriated

    Shep is the only place you’ve seen that?
    You need to get out more.

  118. Charles

    I reckon on those days when Sharman Stone was at school and the topic was reading and comprehension, she must have been out behind the toilets having a durry.

    It is embarrassing and she should apologise, shut up, and go back to whatever ‘wet’ Liberal hole she crawled out of as all she is doing is making a dill of herself.

  119. How gutless to disrupt the Bill Glasson campaign to score cheap points?

    Why don’t they protest to CCA to fork out another $25m?

  120. Riverina Matt

    If I was a member of the Shepparton business community or a local councillor etc. I would be horrified at the actions of Sharman Stone. The talking down of the Shepparton economy post-SPCA (note that SPCA haven’t yet made a decision to close!) can’t be doing wonders for business confidence or for encouraging inward investment into the region.

    Decision has been made, put the best face on it and suck it up.

  121. Leigh Lowe

    Yes that’s correct. I am staggered that SPC got away with the dumping allegations. To believe that indicates their management do not know their products

    That is a head-scratch for me too.
    I asked the question here a couple of weeks ago, hoping someone familiar with dumping legislation (and the application of that legislation) could enlighten me.
    There was a dumping claim reported in the Oz about that other great rent-seeking leech industry, wind generator tower manufacturers.
    The head of their industry group was complaining about labour costs, Australian regulations, exchange rates etc.
    Surely these are issues of competitiveness.
    Dumping is about an importer selling below the cost of production as I understand it.
    Have our regulators become a bit loose in their definition of what constitutes dumping?

  122. Leigh Lowe

    How gutless to disrupt the Bill Glasson campaign to score cheap points?

    Two employees made the 1500km journey from Shepparton on Wednesday to hand the Liberal National Party’s (LNP) candidate Bill Glasson and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull “limited edition” tins of spaghetti, baked beans and peaches.

    Two?
    Are you fucking joking?
    Two fat slugs from Shep on their very generous paid breaks from SPC make up a home made banner on a bedsheet stolen from a Country Comfort Inn and that warrants an article on news.com.
    FMD!!

  123. Infidel Tiger

    According to Stone-Fruit everyone in Shepparton is about to kill themselves. I can only imagine SPC has been putting fruit in lead cans for this level of madness.

  124. Two employees made the 1500km journey from Shepparton on Wednesday

    The media won’t report on the Convoy of No Confidence, but would happily make a “two employees” journey news.

  125. I can only imagine SPC has been putting fruit in lead cans for this level of madness.

    I doubt if the Shepparton locals or SPC workers ever eat their own canned fruit.

  126. Leigh Lowe

    According to Stone-Fruit everyone in Shepparton is about to kill themselves. I can only imagine SPC has been putting fruit in lead cans for this level of madness.

    Don’t panic.
    Can’t hang yourself from a peach tree.
    For Christ’s sake.
    You’re already in Shepparton.
    It can’t actually get any worse.

  127. H B Bear

    SPC Ardmona is a “tow back the boats” moment for corporate welfare moochers. Hopefully they will bleat long and loud so the message will be heard in all Australian boardrooms.

    The beauty of it is that $25m isn’t even a rounding error for the Feds. They would spend more than that on paperclips. Another green shoot of promise.

  128. Another green shoot of promise.

    It’s promising to see they don’t promise.

  129. Notafan

    The Italians pay pickers 2e per hour but they can use illegals so they do have a little advantage.
    Shepparton council killed it’s CBD with excessive commercial rates.
    I cannot understand the government contribution request when SPC can claim tax deductions whether by deduction or capital allowances
    The whole subsidy for large corporate is rubbish

  130. Over-Boots

    “The Italians pay pickers 2e per hour but they can use illegals so they do have a little advantage.”
    This comment indicates you are not paying attention to the arguments.
    Italian canned tomatoes are popular because of their quality not their price. SPC’s argument that they were effected by dumping indicates that SPC management do not understand their market. Hence their lack of commercial success.

  131. Bear Necessities

    According to Stone-Fruit everyone in Shepparton is about to kill themselves. I can only imagine SPC has been putting fruit in lead cans for this level of madness.

    Shepparton – It may not be hell but you can see it from there.

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

    Boycott their products.

    That’ll teach the whinging rent seekers a good hard lesson.

  133. Andrew

    So you can’t buy Coke because they are asking for government money, and you can’t buy Schweppes, because they are owned by Cadbury

    And you can’t make it yourself because of the Jooooos

  134. tomix

    Does the unemployment rate drop during the picking season because the dole bludgers are out picking peaches

    Backpackers from hostels are preferred because the required number are guaranteed to turn up to the farm. Entrepreneurial local youth may also be doing some lucrative untaxed farming of their own.

    Pruning, thinning or picking stonefruit on farms drenched for generations by toxic shit from Monsanto wouldn’t be my idea of a job.

  135. Gab

    Unions back Judith Sloan’s post:

    THE vast majority of workers at embattled cannery SPC Ardmona are entitled to lucrative redundancy payouts of up to two years’ wages, the union representing the workforce has confirmed.

    Confirmation of the entitlements comes amid a bitter brawl between Tony Abbott and local Liberal Party backbencher Sharman Stone, who has implied the Prime Minister lied about the generosity of conditions at SPC in rejecting the company’s pleas for industry assistance.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/spc-ardmona-redundancy-double-what-company-says/story-fn59niix-1226819084181

  136. twostix

    THE vast majority of workers at embattled cannery SPC Ardmona are entitled to lucrative redundancy payouts of up to two years’ wages, the union representing the workforce has confirmed.

    Oh.

    How embarrasing for Stone. Talk about the worst political strategy in the history of the country: “I know, I’ll call the leader of my party a liar and I’ll do it on the ABC and then the luvvies will love me.”

    Then despite her being on their side, the labour union couldn’t resist such a jaw droppingly stupid strategy and so have strung her up.

    So the Liberals hate her, Liberal supporters hate her and now the union is laughing their arses off at after just her embarrassing her in front of Australia.

  137. boy on a bike

    The government should make it a condition that, if a company wants support from the taxpayer, it has to make its accounts public. And I mean make everything public so that we can all see why they need the money. If they want our money, it’s only fair that we see how they have been making and spending theirs.

    This whole argument over the EBA terms and conditions would disappear if SPC were required to make their payroll data available to all and sundry (with names redacted of course). Then again, if you are going on the public payroll, maybe we should be able to see exactly who is making what now.

  138. jupes

    … who has implied the Prime Minister lied …

    She didn’t imply he lied. She stated that he lied.

  139. Notafan

    Over boots price was also mentioned
    I suspect that claims to be prepared twice as much for Italian is hyperbole
    Price is clearly a consideration for most consumers

  140. candy

    She didn’t imply he lied. She stated that he lied.

    She should do the right thing and resign.

  141. Cynicmonster

    “However, if the closure is partly due to the declining popularity of canned fruit and a preference for fresh fruit, then the overall business of fruit growers would not change.”

    To be fair, canning fruits are a different breed to table fruits, and most of the orchards here are set up for canning fruits (like table grapes v’s wine grapes). Yes, growers could change to table fruits, but the lag time would be about 5 years. You do have to wonder just how astute some of these growers are. It’s not like the writing hasn’t been on the wall for some time.

    Guess it highlights the problems of a region that focuses solely on one business (i.e. lacks diversification)

  142. JohnA

    tomix #1179398, posted on February 5, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Pruning, thinning or picking stonefruit on farms drenched for generations by toxic shit from Monsanto wouldn’t be my idea of a job.

    I hear the sound of another axe being ground…

    Apparently you have little idea of the chemicals involved. They break down within 7 days under UV light (read: daylight).

  143. Over-Boots

    “I suspect that claims to be prepared twice as much for Italian is hyperbole
    Price is clearly a consideration for most consumers”
    Italian tomatoes have always been marginally cheaper than SPC. The quality argument is validated by the fact that Coles, Woolworths and Aldi’s house brands are sourced from Italy. By pursuing the dumping allegation SPC’s management have proven they do not understand their markets or products. The company as is stuffed. If this happens to my business so am I. Are you going to cry for me?

  144. genia

    From the current EBA:

    S5.3 BRIGHT CAN STACKING ALLOWANCE
    Employees who are forklift drivers and who are stacking pallets of bright cans shall be entitled to an
    allowance of 50 cents per hour

  145. Dan

    I prefer Ardmona tomatoes over watered down crap from Italy.

    Guess that makes me a philistine.

  146. tomix

    Still drinking the green KoolAid, JohnA?

  147. tomix

    …the clean and green KoolAid…

  148. philip j. fry

    “Boycott their products.” ?

    I haven’t bought anything from Ardmona for over 20 years .. maybe longer. Still buy occasionally from Golden Circle, the kids like tinned pineapple on home made pizza (they haven’t developed taste yet).

    Really, apart from nursing homes/hospitals and institutional food (prisons/military) who buys canned fruit?

    No need for an active boycott.

    Tinned tomatoes, Italian from Costco by the case .. great quality, inexpensive.

  149. A right wing Murdoch hack writes about spin. Self-awareness FAIL.

  150. Gab

    A right wing Murdoch hack writes about spin. Self-awareness FAIL.

    When you make accusations like that, you need to back it with actual facts otherwise it’s just mindless perfunctory ad hominem.

    This isn’t Facebook or Twitter.

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