February 03, 2014

Horse 1609 - SPC Ardmona And Bad Fruit

It's kind of "refreshing" (is that the word? maybe "fulsome"?) to see that the Abbott Government has decided to take a hard-line against the working classes by blaming the failure of SPC Ardmona, squarely on the workforce.
Presumably this fits nicely with the whole rhetoric behind his push to blame unions for everything wrong in this country and continue his witch hunt.

The Australian for instance waxed lyrical that the workers on the floor of the plant were on $120,000 per year¹ and Prime Minister Abbott was seen on Sky News this week complaining about so called "Wet Allowances" which in reality amounted to an extra 58c/hr if plant workers worked in conditions that required them to wear protective clothing. To put that in perspective, if a worker spent 50 hours in a working week suited up, they'd be entitled to and extra $29.

But it was the Australian Financial Review which accidentally gave away some details which really makes you wonder who exactly is on the take:
Employment Minister Eric Abetz on Sunday put the onus on SPC ­Ardmona’s owner, Coca-Cola Amatil, and the Manufacturing Workers Union to wind back generous over-award conditions as he pursued a campaign to change Australian workplace culture.
The involvement of CCA’s politically connected chairman, David Gonski, has helped turn the bailout request into a high-profile test of the new government’s resolve to resist pleas for ­corporate subsidies.
- Australian Financial Review, 2nd Feb 2014.²

Eric Abetz would like us to believe that it was the evil AMWU who is at fault here (ERIC WANT SMASH!), yet if you look at Coca-Cola Amatil itself, what was the salary level of their CEO? I'm not exactly sure, but we do know what their last one got:

Mr Davis remained among Australia's best-paid executives last year, earning a total pay package worth $7.8 million. His salary was $2.3 million. The rest of his package came from superannuation and performance-related incentive payments and other perks.
- Sydney Morning Herald, 18th March, 2013.³

Oh yes, blame the evil AMWU. If you add 29% to the award (and yes I did the maths for this), then an average worker at the SPC Ardmona plant should be on $24.93/hr.
$24.93 x 50hrs = $1246.50
$1246.50 x 52.178 weeks = $65,039 per year.
Mr Davis "performance-related incentive payments and other perks" amounted to the same amount of money as 84 workers' salaries.

Hang on a minute though, aren't we told by AWOTE figures that the ordinary-hours average yearly wage in Australia is $74,139? I don't understand something here. On one hand the AMWU and the workers at SPC Ardmona are being blamed for the failure of the business; yet they earn less than the Average Weekly take-home pay and the CEO was able to be paid $7.8 million. Odd.

I also noticed something else in that Herald article too. Who else did we see in that report about former Coca-Cola Amatil CEO? It wouldn't be the David Gonski would it? Surely not the same Gonski of whom the Gillard-Government education report was named after was it?

ANZ has announced David Gonski will replace John Morschel as chairman of the bank in 2014.
Mr Gonski will step down from his role as chair of the Future Fund to take on the new position. Peter Costello has been appointed acting Future Fund chairman until a replacement is named.
In an announcement ahead of the bank’s annual general meeting, Mr Morschel said Mr Gonski would join the ANZ board in February.
- Sydney Morning Herald, 18th December, 2013.

So again, let me make sure I understand this. The workers at the plant are being blamed for the failure of the business and the business was still able to remunerate their management to the tune of several million dollars and one of them was able to parachute out of one job into the chair of one of the big four banks.
How come the Abbott Government isn't investigating that?

Granted that management might have a problem at SPC Ardmona and asking the Federal Government for handouts is rather a bit gauche but you can't blame the workers for turning up and doing their jobs can you? Especially when the people who tried to asked for the money from the government in some cases earn 80 times more than them and are able to flit from board room to board room like wasps. If the SPC factory in Shepparton were to close, I bet that those workers won't be able to walk into another job quite so easily.
It really does make me wonder, just how much rotten fruit is running this country. I suspect that there are more than a few bad apples.

I apologise. Some of these links are tucked up in bed behind paywalls.

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