REST, the superannuation fund for workers in retail, warehousing and the fast-food industry, is a major shareholder in
Transfield Services Broadspectrum. According to Broadspectrum’s 2015 Annual Report, REST has just under 25 million shares.
In corporate governance and financial terms, REST is a named substantial shareholder of Broadspectrum and not simply an investor, though the transfer was made under the auspices of the Australian subsidiary of the US financial giant State Street Corporation.**
If we compare the value of REST’s shares in Broadspectrum when it announced it had become a substantial shareholder (24 June, 2015) to today, and given there has been no ASX announcement that the number of shares has declined since then, this means that REST members have lost almost half of the value of that initial investment.
In dollar terms, this means that retail and fast-food workers have lost around $12.9million of their retirement savings in propping up the detention camps on Manus and Nauru.
Half of REST’s Board are appointed by the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA).**
*State Street Corporation is one of the “big four” US financial giants, a significant and ubiquitous presence in everything from Walmart to MCDonald’s.
**Oh dear, the SDA
The sectors covered by the SDA is one of the most casualised in Australia. The SDA are notorious for negotiating “a deal [with Coles] that in many cases appears to pay well below the award, the basic wages safety net.” The Chair of
Transfield Services Broadspectrum, Diane Smith-Gander, is also on the Board of Wesfarmers – Wesfarmers owns Coles. See more here on the food industry, Border Force and migrant workers.
Often referred to as “the Shoppies,” the SDA are the last of the far Right Catholic-controlled unions (“groupers”) established in the 1940s. The “groupers” (or Catholic Social Studies Movement and the later National Civic Council) were founded by B.A. Santamaria, admirer of the Spanish and Italian Fascists, and Tony Abbott’s political mentor.
SDA-allied politicians in the Labor Party include: Tony Burke, Kate Ellis, David Feeney, Amanda Rishworth and Nick Champion, Helen Polley, Jacinta Collins, Bullock, Chris Ketter, Deborah O’Neill and Catryna Bilyk. Joe De Bruyn is on the ALP National Executive, described by Eric Abetz as “a role model of trade union officialdom. He is the type of official that gives trade unionism a good name.” Others were Brian Harradine.
Tony Burke was Minister for Immigration during the previous Labor Government, supported offshore detention upon becoming Immigration Minister, and spoke recently in support of the ALP adopting a policy in support of turning back boats at sea.
While the SDA have been notorious for their strident opposition to same-sex marriage, protests have recently led to their reversing their position. Is the same required for the SDA to support divestment from the detention industry?