Stop Simplot secrets: Union

Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) NSW secretary Tim Ayres has accused Simplot Australia managing director Terry O’Brien of scaremongering.

It comes as Simplot and the union face off over the next collective agreement.

Mr Ayres said research conducted by the AMWU has uncovered the strong profit and financial records of Simplot’s Australian operations.

“The data, which was uncovered despite the refusal of Simplot to publicly release their financial records, shows that on all key indicators, the company is performing well,” Mr Ayres said.

However, Mr O’Brien said the lodged accounts of Simplot Australia Holdings Pty Ltd are not the full story of the performance of the business, as some parts of the company’s operations are not included.

He denied any secrecy, saying that in July this year, Simplot supplied the AMWU with the company’s management accounts and worked through them with the union’s economist Tom Skladzien and the national secretary of the AMWU Food Division Tom Hale.

“Simplot has only been completely transparent with its financial situation and there is absolutely no justification as to why the union continues to ignore the true picture of which they are well aware,” Mr O’Brien said.

Mr O’Brien has called the AMWU to account over what he says is its “flawed cherry picking of publicly available data” on the company’s financial performance.

He said that positive comments about the business should not be misconstrued by the union that the business is earning enough to be sustainable.

“We are still a way off from having a sustainably profitable manufacturing business in Australia,” Mr O’Brien said.

However, the union said its research shows that Simplot Australia has shown strong growth in indicators including:

* 49 per cent increase in profits

* 62 per cent increase in profits perdollar spent on wages

* 2.3 per cent increase in revenue

* nine per cent increase in company equity

Meanwhile, the company has also seen downward trends in liabilities including:

* 25 per cent reduction in totalliabilities

* 7.9 per cent reduction in wage and salary costs.

“These figures show that workers have been doing their bit to make Simplot strong, productive and profitable. A wage drop in real terms would be a slap in the face for these workers in light of these numbers,” Mr Ayres said.

“In April, Terry O’Brien was in the business pages of the Australian Financial Review talking up Simplot.

“Just five months later, while in the middle of negotiations, it’s suddenly all doom and gloom.

“For two weeks, Terry has been out attacking his workforce for asking for a modest pay increase while refusing to release any of the financial information to back up his rhetoric.”

Mr O’Brien said the improvement figures the union has quoted are off the back of Simplot’s in Australia in 15 years.

“In the 2012 financial year, we experienced a 50 per cent drop in profit, so the 49 per cent increase in profit quoted by the union still only brought the business back to 75 per cent of our normal profitability,” Mr O’Brien said.

“This improvement came from both our imported products such as John West, which benefited from the high Australian dollar, and the reduction of the number of salaried staff and their salaries across the business.”

Mr O’Brien said Simplot salaried staff had not received a pay increase for the past two years and approximately 110 people had been made redundant over that time.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.