Onya, Comrade

SPC Ardmona is mainly a preserve of the AMWU – the food preservers’ division (in the past, the officials were Communists, nothing wrong there, but interesting to note) – but the maintenance staff are covered by the AWU.  Well that’s when they had some maintenance employees.  Now they have all been made redundant and the maintenance function has been outsourced.

And where did the real problems begin?  When Dolly Shorten decided to take the maintenance workers out on strike mid-season and negotiate a completely unsustainable package of pay rises and additional leave.  Good one.  He sure did change their lives forever – they ultimately got the sack.

And note to Bill: there is a lot of leisure for the unemployed.

Here’s the story:

IN his former life as a union leader, Bill Shorten led SPC Ardmona workers on a six-day strike during the harvest season, winning them an extra eight days “leisure time”.

Amid debate over the workers’ enterprise agreement and its role in the company’s financial woes, a 2004 press release has emerged in which the now-Opposition Leader claimed to have changed SPC working conditions “forever”.

AWU press release

He said workers had “won an agreement from SPC Ardmona for a 13.5 per cent improvement in salary conditions including an extra eight days of leisure time by the third year of the agreement”.

“By taking legally protected industrial action for the last six days these workers have had a victory that will change the way they work at SPC forever,” Mr Shorten said, in his role as Australian Workers’ Union national secretary.

“We … will be continuing our campaign to win greater leisure time for our members across the country.”

In the statement, headed “AWU wins shorter working week at SPC”, Mr Shorten said SPC workers had not wanted to disrupt the busy harvest period but felt their issues had been ignored by management.

“We think this dispute could have been avoided if SPC management realised that what makes the SPC brand so important and valuable is the people who have made SPC what it is today – that is the workforce at the original SPC factory in Shepparton,” he said.

It’s understood the press release referred to the winning of rostered days off.

It’s believed the maintenance workers referred to in the AWU press release were made redundant in December last year in a cost-cutting move by the company to outsource its trades workforce.

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17 Responses to Onya, Comrade

  1. Notafan

    Dolly stacks up the big wins.
    Didn’t he advocate sealing up Beaconsfield as well?
    I hear he has even more successes to boast of.

  2. Leigh Lowe

    … and Pieman catches his balls in yet another rabbit trap.
    If he was Tony Abbott he would be “gaffe prone”.

  3. Noddy

    Publicly the SPC saga is shaping up as a battle between the communists and the economic rationalists, however there are others unwilling involved.
    It takes 14 or 15 years for a fruit tree to reach full maturity… it is not one or two financial years!
    It is similar for dairy farmers… two years to raise a heifer and then another few years before it matures. You cannot plan from year to year. Cropping comes around a little quicker but you must still be mindful of the seasons. In every case you have to do the work upfront before you receive a return. The economic rationalists spend their time in an artificial environment and produce little of any substance and the selfish communists will slaughter the ‘proverbial goose’ whilst they pursue their own agenda regardless of the consequences.
    After viewing Joe Hockey at the National Press Club this week there is no doubt he will ‘screw’ us harder than the useless Labor Government… they are all driving this country down the socialist road. It seems the collective war effort of this nation was wasted and with no reward.

  4. entropy

    Noddy, I would have some sympathy if the fruit growers decided to sell off their coop in exchange for filthy moolah from CCA. They decided the increased risk was fairly traded off for those $. Unfortunately the fire blight got into the factory.

  5. Johno

    in the past, the officials were Communists, nothing wrong there, but interesting to note

    Except that most Communist officials in trade unions in the past were working for either Moscow or Peking and supported regimes that were responsible for the greatest mass killings in human history.

    There is plenty that is wrong with that and they should be held to account. People such as the Greens’ Senator Lee Rhiannon.

  6. Armadillo

    Judith, love the reference to ‘Dolly Shorten’. No doubt you would be aware that ‘Interruption Lotto’ on the QandA thread has been disbanded and is due to be replaced by a new competition. Umm… when are you on QandA next Judith? We know you want to utter it on air. Go on – be a sport.

  7. Up The Workers!

    Bull Shitten, Leader of the Australian Liars Party.

    The man has a mind like a steel trap.

    A gully trap!

  8. Fisky

    in the past, the officials were Communists, nothing wrong there, but interesting to note

    Nothing wrong there??? You’ve got to be joking.

  9. Poor Old Rafe

    Running a strike in the middle of the harvest is classical trade union thuggery, hold up delivery of perishables at the waterfront, sabotage concrete pours, jam the lift on the last day of the high rise construction, so much silence for so long, now the damage is getting out of control, half one sixteenth decent coverage from the gutter press would have exposed this corruption and sabotage years ago.

    When I became active on these things circa 1987 I wanted to see a list of the major union leaders with an account of the strikes and other activities they had organized and the number of jobs lost, the increased cost of good and waste of resources that they produced, plus the human damage to people who got in the way. I did not have time to do the research and in the absence of current web technology I could not see how the results could be made public and circulated in a cheap and accessible manner.

    This kind of information is probably scattered all over the place, in H R Nicholls papers, Gerard Henderson op eds and more recently in the columns of Grace (the Face). Has anyone seen a site where this kind of thing is listed and collated so you can get an idea of the big picture out of it?

  10. Rabz

    Wow – I seriously thought that labor couldn’t get any worse after Krudd and Lady Lardarse, but they’ve outdone themselves, again.

    Bring on the Pigster.

  11. Ant

    I had been wondering why Michael Kroger rather energetically kept spruiking Shorten to take over from, firstly, Rudd, and then Gillard, even claiming he was the “natural Labor leader”.

    It sound strange coming from such character.

    But a few months of Blowhard Shorten as opposition leader seems to suggest it may have been an act of shrewd bastardry on Kroger’s part.

  12. wal1957

    I believe most Ozzies have lost any regard they had for unions per se.
    Outrageous wage claims,days in lieu, sick days, penalty rates etc.
    Rorts/fraud committed by various union exec’s, which in some cases is only now being exposed because of some wonderful investigative work by a couple of journalists.

    And they have the gall to say “trust us, it’s only one or two union exec’s”! We do not need a judicial enquiry.

    I think it is time that all union members (the workers) stood up and demand that a judicial enquiry does indeed take place. surely they must realise that the only people that will benefit if no investigation takes place are the ones that are ripping the members off.

    Or are they just like sheep?

  13. Squirrel

    Had that press release come out in 1974, or 1984 or even – at a stretch – 1994 it would have made sense, in the context of the times. However, to have such a statement as recently as 2004 is truly remarkable, particularly given the involvement of someone who, even then, probably had the marshal’s baton in his knapsack and – dare I say it – may have spent idle moments imagining a glorious Saturday night, some time in the future, when he promised to be a Prime Minister “for all Australians”.

  14. IainC

    in the past, the officials were Communists, nothing wrong there, but interesting to note
    (cue Seinfeld voice) “you slaughtered millions, drove the peasants from their farms, starved the people, forced workers to endure worse conditions than the industrial revolution era and stole their liberty – not that there’s anything wrong with that!”

  15. Robbo

    “By taking legally protected industrial action for the last six days these workers have had a victory that will change the way they work at SPC forever,” Mr Shorten said, in his role as Australian Workers’ Union national secretary.

    Well Little Billy was certainly right when he made that statement. Bad luck for the workers that he was but, hey, as Sarah Hanson-Young would put it, “accidents happen”.

  16. pseudonym

    I’m with Johno.

    All communists bear collective responsibility for the crimes committed in the name of their wacky religion. Each and every communistic must be brought to account.

    To borrow from Cato: communism must be destroyed.

  17. Wayneof perth

    I’m with Johno too.

    The Comrades everywhere share the guilt for all the crimes committed in its name.

    As an aside do the delegates at ALP conferences still call each other “comrade”.

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