Dr Sharman Stone, the federal MP for the Victorian seat of Murray, where SPC Ardmona is based, has just upped the ante on her fight to save the canning factory with financial support from the federal Government, accusing Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey of lying over the terms and conditions of workers at the Shepparton factory.
In a scathing attack during an interview with ABC Rural, the Liberal backbencher was blunt in her assessment of her own Government’s claims that the union awards were killing the business, saying “It’s not the truth… it’s lying.”
“What [the Government]said was ‘We’re not gonna help because it is the amazing wages and conditions that have knocked this company for six’ and that is just wrong,” Dr Stone said. “It is not true. If I was in Parliament, I couldn’t say ‘liar’ because it’s unparliamentary, but it’s just not true.”
“You have not just me saying that, but you have the Productivity Commission who looked carefully… they concluded there wages and conditions were the issue. It was dumping, the massive increase in imports, terrible floods and 10 years of drought. Coles’, Woolworths’ strategies that they impose because of their duopoly,” she said.
“I’m looking at a list here of apparent crimes that the unions commit against the owners SPCA… those listed are just rubbish, so this is a witch hunt.”
Workers make $45,000 to $60,000 per year and SPCA is planning to release details of the 2012 enterprise agreement in a bid to end speculation on what Mr Hockey called its “astounding” conditions.
Dr Stone said she believed the Government’s own independent panel, had recommended support for SPCA.
Read and listen to the full ABC story here.
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