What’s happening in Cadbury, Mount Gambier? Who cares?

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.

 

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17 Responses to What’s happening in Cadbury, Mount Gambier? Who cares?

  1. Eddystone

    I haven’t lived in Mt Gambier for 10 years, but blowed if I knew they had a Cadburies factory there.

  2. Johno

    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

    He’s right about the inconsistency with handing out $16m to one lot of dole bludgers while refusing $25 m to another lot. The Cadbury offer should never had been made and, hopefully, Cabinet has now drawn a line in the sand with corporate welfare.

    Barnaby’s socialist rural bank proposal will be the next big test. Let’s hope that this out break of liberalism by the so called Liberal Party has a longer shelf life than most good policy stands by the Liberals.

  3. RMR

    Fascinating that any journalist would consider such an argument worthy of being published, and that his boss pays him to do so. Demeans the role of the Fourth Estate in our society. Interesting to see how quickly market forces solve this problem, or perhaps the Fairfax share price shows this already.

  4. entropy

    Employers and employees can negotiate as generous a set of conditions as they want. Nobody else’s business. The story changes though, when those same businesses start demanding taxpayers bail out their largess. Then it is everyone’s business.

  5. entropy

    What if the cheap government farmer loan was only for debt reconstruction, the producer must agree to management by the bank with oversight by the government, the loan is only cheap for five years, and then they have another three years to find a lender at would totally take them on. At the end of that period, if no one is prepared to take them on, they have pre agreed the farm will be sold out from under them to someone who can make a go of it, at a price the commercial bank partner will accept.

  6. gabrianga

    Return of the aNiMaLS ?

  7. Rob

    Anybody trying to join the popular factory tour of Cadbury’s plant in Tasmania a few years back were being disappointed to find that Union / OH&S issues had brought about it’s demise.
    Upwards of 55,000 visitors were doing this tour every year – great for Tassie tourism!
    Although tourism and factory tours are not core business for Cadbury, it’s certain many interested visitors to Tassie will appreciate the government initiative in re-establishing them.

  8. Gillian Lord

    Cadbury cannot be directly compared with Ardmona, the Cadbury deal was the usual “Tasmanian deal” done before the election to help the State overcome its disadvantages. The situation is shown in a letter by Chris Merridew to the Hobart “Mercury” last year -

    Cadburys needs 6,000 more cows

    The Cadbury expansion and increased chocolate bar production goes far further than Chocolate Manufacturing Tours.

    After Cadbury spend the $66 million including the $16 million sweetener from the projected Abbott government, Cadbury will employ an extra 6,000 cows in Tasmania to triple the current milk demand from 37 million litres to 120 million per annum. Imagine just what this part of the development will do for dairy farmers, farm values, and at least 350 more dairy and associated workers mostly on our North West Coast – plus the ripple effect on their local suppliers, vets, fences, pivots, it just goes on.

    Cadbury plan to increase chocolate block production to 70,000 tonnes annually creating a $1 billion turnover in Tasmania. This product for the world markets will provide a greatly increased volume of exports that we hear Bass Strait needs as part of its international shipping viability.

    Add to this mix the opportunity for all the Tasmanian specialist high tech engineering firms who will be able to fulfil major parts of the construction of additional production lines, with all the building industry for the Factory extension estimated to be 320 jobs.

    This is a huge announcement for all of Tasmania in value adding to a Tasmanian icon to supply a “Glass and a Half of full cream Milk” from “Mountain and Sea” to the world, leaving a terrific taste for all of Tasmania.

  9. candy

    A tour of a chocolate factory would be much more interesting than a tour of a tinned peach factory.

  10. Pyrmonter

    Depressing how many other kickbacks the refusal to SPC has thrown up; one can almost sympathise with their sense of unfairness.

  11. Baldrick

    Rob
    #1182142, posted on February 8, 2014 at 2:50 pm
    Anybody trying to join the popular factory tour of Cadbury’s plant in Tasmania a few years back were being disappointed to find that Union / OH&S issues had brought about it’s demise.

    The $16m pledge, amongst other things, was to construct a new visitors centre and see tours recommence.
    LINK

  12. jupes

    Fascinating that any journalist would consider such an argument worthy of being published, and that his boss pays him to do so.

    This isn’t an industrial relations story. This is an anti-Abbott story.

    His boss probably told him to do it.

  13. Poor Old Rafe

    “This is a huge announcement for all of Tasmania in value adding to a Tasmanian icon to supply a “Glass and a Half of full cream Milk” from “Mountain and Sea” to the world, leaving a terrific taste for all of Tasmania.”

    That line amused all the people who knew that the Jersey milk from the rich pastures of Champions Flats and other places in the North West was too rich for the Cadbury bars and Cadbury was a major supplier of cream to the local butter factory.

  14. Jessie

    It surely is a moot point whether this is an anti-Abbott story, discrepancies between states in industrial relations or the state of Tasmanian organic industry for the wine, cheese and strawberry coated chocolate exports for the latte lot. Rafe your legume crops escape inclusion, as does Tasmanian mining and their pitiful timber industry.

    The commenter about Barnaby’s socialist rural bank; please take 17 minutes of your time to view these

    Department of Interior & Dams: How science is manipulated for a department to meet its goals+support the idea of not making discoverable documents= fire the scientist

    Leon Ashby’s Part2/3 Farming and Property Rights experiences.

    Comments in Catallaxy Annual report (congratulations) re Mongolian visitors to website thought FIFO. Mongolia also supports a thriving pasture program for stock feed.

  15. entropy

    Whe I was a young fella he bits on my couple of months working in Tassie I liked the best was visiting Stanley and theNut, green beach and the Cadbury factory tour. But if it was up to me the place would be sold to the Chinese, Arabs, whoever just to reduce our debt. Doubt it would pay it off.

  16. John

    Last time I drove past the factory in Suttontown/Mount Gambier (hint: it was a couple of days ago, as I live in the area), it was actually a Kraft factory (Kraft is also owned by Mondelez) – NOT a Cadbury factory

  17. JohnA

    candy #1182146, posted on February 8, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    A tour of a chocolate factory would be much more interesting than a tour of a tinned peach factory.

    Our family has done both (long time ago). Comparisons are odious – they were both good places to visit.

    Other factory tours have been killed off by the same over-burden of OH&S – dairy industry is a prime example, but all food industries have suffered.

    This leads to the half-joke about children who wonder how milk from cows gets into those containers…

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