The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) slammed the Federal Government for its decision to cut industry assistance for struggling food processing giant SPC Ardmona.
According to the media release issued by the Union, the Government’s policy of achieving productivity through cutting wages, conditions and jobs will drive the company downhill and damage the country’s economy as a whole.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott held a press conference on Thursday during which he shifted the blame to the company’s workers. According to him, workers at the Ardmona plant needed to be more “flexible” in order for the industry to survive.
“The union and workers at the SPC plant have already been working in cooperation with plant management to improve productivity,” said AMWU National Secretary Paul Bastian.
“For the Prime Minister to suggest that the potential closure of the Ardmona plant is due to the workers is to ignore the mess in the Government’s own backyard.”
The AMWU has pinpointed several key factors that have contributed to the SPC’s current state of affairs, including the Government’s refusal to impose anti-dumping duties on the cheap dumped canned fruit into Australia, the cheap Italian tomatoes that are undercutting SPC with the Government’s blessing, the sub-standard imports with dangerous levels of lead, as well as the high Australian dollar which is pressuring SPC and the entire Australian manufacturing sector.
According to Mr Bastian, the decision flies in the face of the Government’s own advice from the Productivity Commission, its own panel of experts, the interests of the local community and the strong opposition of the local coalition MP.
“This decision is not in the interests of anyone. It is based on a naive and cruel desire from this Government to maintain their ideological purity when it comes to manufacturing support at the expense of thousands of jobs and whole industries. We have seen it with Holden and now we have seen it with SPC Ardmona,” Mr Bastian said.
“The Government directly and indirectly subsidies mining, agriculture, finance, fisheries and other important Australian industries and yet it is continually cutting investment in manufacturing. Today is a sad day for all Australians. Soon, when we go to the supermarket and look down the canned-goods aisle, there will be nothing left made in Australia.”