At the last two meetings Management has spoken of “challenges” facing SMCT. Supposedly these include a decline in religious participation and competition from private providers, including Invocare. Employee reps and the ASU would like to reassure employees. There is no evidence that the current Labor Government has any plans to deregulate the Victorian cemetery market.
It is highly unlikely that SMCT will face direct competition from the likes of Invocare in the next three years or during the life of the next agreement.
Likewise, there is no evidence of a decline in religious participation or a falling demand for services. To the contrary, SMCT has experienced success through targeted diversification and the provision of services to Islamic and Buddhist communities.
Positioned in the South Eastern growth corridor, SMCT is poised to enjoy a period of strong growth. SMCT’s strong financial position appears to be reflected in the growth of SMCT’s workforce, especially at the “managerial” end.
The Actual Position
The best evidence to use in bargaining is that found in the Annual report. A quick look at SMCT’s Annual Report reveals what is actually going on. Some of the highlights include.
- Operating Profit of $24.6 Million in 2014, (2013) 21 Million, (2012) 18.3 Million. Profits are growing each year.
- Revenue from Cemetery Operation 2014 was $51.3 Million. This was $4 million ahead of budget.
- Grave sales were 14% ahead of budget. Reflecting growth amongst Islamic and Buddhist communities.
- Mausoleum and Cript Sales were both over 10% ahead of budget
- Numbers of Cremations and Internments were also both ahead of budget. That is and despite any competition from NSW, more cremations and internments were performed at SMCT than expected.
- The rate at which SMCT employees were able to convert simple cremations into memorial sales was 2% ahead of budget.
In previous Agreements management have demanded that employees’ trade off conditions in return for any pay increase.
Unless Management is willing to negotiate a fair and reasonable increase, we will not be rolling over any part of the current Agreement.
The best gains will be made if we all work together. If you would like information about joining the ASU please contact ASU Organiser Andy Lewis.