The Pen is mightier than the sword, but the Pen must sometimes move the sword against corruption if the corrupt are not moved by the pen.. An idea without an implementer is useless. "The Rulers do not carry the sword in vain"Rom 13:4

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Terrible Journalism of the ABC- The SPC Ardmona affair.

There is a very disturbing aspect to this crisis in industry and here it is.

1/ The Abbott government is adamant that SPC is overly generous to it's workers which makes it (Gov) reluctant to provide assistance. (money)

2/ The Managing director of SPC has come out and declared that allowances are not much of an issue for their operation and constitute less than 1% of overall costs.

Quite a contrast!

Among the claims SPC is seeking to refute is that allowances are "over-generous".

Worker allowances at SPC Ardmona

Claim: SPC Ardmona employees get "over-generous" allowances.
Fact: The total allowances paid to SPC production staff in 2013 was $116,467, less than 0.1 per cent of the business's cost of goods for the year.

Claim: There is a generous "wet" allowance of 58 cents per hour for cleaners
Fact: Zero ($0.00) paid in 2013.

Claim: SPC Ardmona employees get nine weeks paid leave a year.
Fact: SPCA employees get 20 days annual leave.

Claim: A five-day Melbourne Cup long weekend.
Fact: Production staff accrue rostered days off (RDOs) during the year which SPCA requires them not to take during the peak season. Instead these RDOs are taken at the start of November, the optimum time for a plant shutdown to allow maintenance in preparation for the canning season from December to April. RDOs are not additional leave.

Claim: Sick leave is cashed out each year.
Fact: This was removed from the EBA in 2012.

Claim: Loading, or shift penalties are above the award.
Fact: SPC Ardmona penalties are the same as industry standards and common to many Australian EBAs. Afternoon shift is at 20 per cent and night shift at 30 per cent.

Claim: Loadings on top of overtime.
Fact: Production workers do almost zero overtime.

Claim: Redundancy is in excess of the award.
Fact: This old condition was reduced in 2012 to a 52-week cap.

- Source: SPC Ardmona's managing director Peter Kelly.

"The total cost of allowances for all production staff at SPC Ardmona for the entire year of 2013 was $116,467, which represents less than 0.1 per cent of the business's cost of goods for the year," the statement said.

The first thing I want to know from decent journalism is... 'why' is the Government version so different? Now.. a good journalist would dig deeper and find out about 'what' the Gov't position is based on..and TELL us.  Then we know what's going on. Thus far we've had
i) Government Claims
ii) SPC fact sheet denial
iii) Government adamant in it's original position.

Now.. this amazes me, that the ABC has only reported the fact...rather than gone that little bit further and found out what the Gov't is using for it's information? I personally suspect that the Gov't position might be related to special conditions for the Electrical Maintainance workers who are not technically "production" workers.   The ETU is notorious for extorting unbelievably inflated pay and conditions from the bigger employers. In fact Dean Mighell former secretary of the Victorian ETU is on record boasting about how they screwed and intimidated the cringing employers!
So...ABC? how about it...some in depth analysis would be welcome. We don't pay you to just give a bare minimalist, no analysis version of current events. "News" is not just 'what' happens but 'why' it happens.

Here is a hint.  Having sacked ALL 73 of it's electrical maintainance personnel in late 2013... it can now actually make statements regarding the rest of the workers that 'ring true' of being not overly generous.  But if the ETU members and their EBA had been included, I suspect the Gov't claims would look a lot more truthful. Chronology is quite important in these things.

The following image might shed some light on the reason SPC sacked all it's electrical maintainance workers.
Now add to the above, a $750 /week living away from home allowance (if applicable) and you have an astronomical pay packet that many would almost kill for.  This image is from the EBA here.
The ABC could have pointed to this, shown the same image and invesssstigated this issue.
It means that an ETU maintainance worker would be getting around $110/annum base pay and $39k extra if there was an away from home allowance. There are many other "allowances" in the EBA and I suggest you check them out. At least you will be better informed about who is telling truth and who is trying to baffle you with b/s.

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