Clearly, the Silly’s Mark Kenny is desperate. Apart from misrepresenting the workplace conditions at SPC Ardmona (yes, all those workers apart from those taken on after 1 July 2012 (none) are entitled to a maximum of 104 weeks redundancy pay … how many times can we point this out … and there are still clauses for the cashing out of sick leave), Kenny goes ferretting around to describe the workplace conditions at the Cadbury factory in Mount Gambier.
So what? Is anyone talking about subsidising the Cadbury factory in Mount Gambier (maybe I should not have raised this?) And United Voice is just as bad as the AMWU on all of this stuff.
Here’s is his ‘news’ piece – go figure.
Cadbury’s parent company Mondelez granted more generous conditions to its employees than SPC Ardmona, including more than twice the redundancy pay, 10 days a year paid leave for union delegates for training, and even a dust allowance.
Mondelez’s new Suttontown production agreement struck with the union United Voice stipulates that employees at its MountGambier plant can cash out their accrued sick leave in some circumstances (this is true in the SPCA agreement as well).
The potentially embarrassing revelation comes within days of the Abbott government confirming that Cadbury’s Tasmanian plant will receive $16 million while SPC Ardmona has been denied a requested $25 million to stay afloat.
Rejecting the SPC Ardmona bid, the government had slammed management for allegedly caving in to union pressure, depicting the Shepparton-based fruit processor as badly run and financially irresponsible. Prime Minister Tony Abbott and several senior figures pointed to chronic employee feather-bedding in the SPC Ardmona enterprise bargaining agreement as a central reason for rejecting the plea for assistance, despite fears the fruit processing works would close, costing 756 jobs directly and decimating the regional economy in the GoulburnValley.
Federal Liberal MP Sharman Stone has resorted to open warfare with her own party over the decision.
Criticisms of SPC Ardmona from the government included claims of an overly generous ”wet” allowance of 58¢ per hour for cleaners; that SPC Ardmona employees received nine weeks’ paid leave per year; that employees were able to cash out their unused sick leave annually; and that redundancy provisions were vastly above community standards (even at 52 weeks, they are: the award provides for 16 weeks).
The company subsequently explained that no wet allowance had been paid, that annual leave was accrued at the normal rate of 20 days per year, that the ability to cash out sick leave had been removed from the EBA in 2012, and that redundancy payments were capped at a total of 52 weeks.
The decision to rebuff SPC Ardmona came as Mr Abbott confirmed that $16 million in taxpayer funds will be given to Cadbury in Tasmania to restore so-called ”chocolate” tourism in the Apple Isle.
Defending what looked like double standards, Mr Abbott had denied it was inconsistent, arguing that SPC Ardmona had been irresponsible in paying above-the-odds rates to its employees and citing the profitability of the cannery’s parent company, Coca-Cola Amatil.
He said with a market capitalisation of $9 billion and a half-year profit of $215 million, Coca-Cola Amatil could easily afford to fund its own plant and equipment upgrades.
But Dr Stone said such arguments were wrong because SPC Ardmona had committed $90 million to improvements out of its after-tax profits. She said the government had ignored the fact that Cadbury has given more generous conditions to its workers, and parent company Mondelez International has booked a profit in the past year of some $1.5 billion.
However, Mondelez International director Simon Talbot warned against comparing EBAs. He said the company had ”invested significantly” in developing a highly skilled workforce.