SPC Ardmona's

SPC Ardmona: denied a requested $25 million to stay afloat. Photo: Justin McManus

Cadbury's parent company granted more generous employee conditions than SPC-Ardmona, including more than twice the redundancy pay, 10 days a year paid leave for union delegates for training, and even a confectioner's dust allowance.

Mondelez's new Suttontown Production Agreement, struck with the union United Voice, says employees at its Mount Gambier plant are also able to cash out their accrued sick leave in some circumstances. The potentially embarrassing revelation comes within days of the Abbott government confirming that Cadbury's Tasmanian plant will receive $16 million, while SPC-Ardmona has been denied a requested $25 million to stay afloat.

When rejecting the SPC-Ardmona bid, the government slammed its management for allegedly caving into union pressure, and depicted the Shepparton fruit processor as badly run and financially irresponsible.

Who got what: A comparison of the provisions between SPC-Ardomnia and Modelez (Cadbury).

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and senior ministers pointed to chronic feather-bedding in SPC-Ardmona's enterprise bargaining agreement as a central reason for rejecting the plea for assistance, despite fears the fruit processing works would close, costing 756 jobs directly and decimating the economy in the Goulburn Valley of Victoria.

Federal Liberal MP Sharman Stone has resorted to open warfare with her own party over the decision, warning the loss of more than 5000 jobs would have a worse effect in the region than the Holden closure would have in Adelaide.

Criticism of SPC-Ardmona from the government included claims of an overly generous ''wet'' allowance of 58¢ an hour for cleaners, that SPC-Ardmona employees received nine weeks' paid leave a year, that employees could cash out their unused sick leave annually, and redundancy provisions were vastly above community standards.

The company subsequently explained that no wet allowance had been paid, annual leave was accrued at the usual rate of 20 days a year, that the ability to cash out sick leave had been removed from the EBA in 2012, and redundancy payments were four weeks a year capped at 52 weeks. The decision to rebuff SPC-Ardmona came as Mr Abbott confirmed $16 million in taxpayer funds would be given to Mondelez's Cadbury operation in Tasmania to restore so-called ''chocolate'' tourism in the state.

Defending what looked like a clear case of double standards, Mr Abbott denied the decision was inconsistent, arguing that SPC-Ardmona had been irresponsible in paying above the odds rates to its employees and citing the profitability of the cannery's parent company, Coca-Cola-Amatil.