GUEST BLOG: Rachel Boyack – ANZ Strike

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If you’ve been paying attention to the news this week, you may have noticed that ANZ bank workers across the country have been taking strike action.

Workers are walking off the job due to an offer from the Bank that offers a low pay rise for many workers, no pay rise for some, and a proposal to introduce a new “flexi-worker” role where a workers’ shift days and times can change from week to week.

For many bank workers who rely on regular, secure work on a decent hourly rate, the proposal is a significant deviation from the current state where hours are permanent and can only be changed by mutual agreement and following a fair consultation process.

Bank workers are some of the most professional people you will meet. They are loyal, diligent, smart and extremely hard working people. They care about their customers and their fellow workers. The job involves risk management, lots of training on product knowledge and processes, attention to detail, integrity and a customer service ethos. The workers who do the job deserve respect, fair remuneration and job security.

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Unfortunately, this is not the environment that ANZ as a large corporate bank is creating for its staff. Bank workers are expected to serve customers quickly, while also selling banking products and reaching demanding sales targets. Some of our members are under significant pressure at work that impacts on their personal lives, their confidence and their job performance. Often the pressure has the opposite effect and leads to a demoralised worker performing poorly in the workplace and questioning their ability to do a job they’ve performed well for many years. I’ve had ANZ workers ring me in tears because they are so frustrated and upset at the culture within the workplace.

Bank workers don’t go on strike for no good reason. The Bank has put a proposal on the table that will allow them to chop and change a worker’s roster with only one week’s notice for each four week period. Never mind the worker’s family responsibilities, sports, attendance at church or voluntary work. Some workers have only been offered a two per cent pay rise. Others would receive no pay rise at all under the Bank’s offer.

All this from a Bank that made well over $1 billion in profit last year and is on track to beat that this year.

To add insult to injury, the Bank’s CEO received a 14 per cent pay rise on the backs of the workers so that he is now paid $11,000 a day. Many New Zealanders would struggle to earn that in a year.

In small towns where there aren’t large numbers of full time jobs on offer many bank workers feel trapped in a job where they struggle to speak out and can’t find another job that will pay the bills or the mortgage.

Fair pay is one thing.

Decent work with fair work conditions and practices is another equally important component of a good job.

ANZ bank workers are standing together to send a strong message to the bank that they deserve a fair deal. Many customers are supporting their stand.

I’m proud to stand with them. I ask you to support these workers too.

 

Rachel Boyack is a Nelson-based Organiser for FIRST Union.

To support the ANZ striking workers today, join the following pickets:

Auckland: meet at 9am at Britomart
Wellington: meet at 8.30am outside ANZ Towers, 49 Tory Street. 
ChCh: meet 8.30am ANZ Addington, 269 Lincoln Road 
Dunedin: meet 9am ANZ, Cnr Hanover & George Sts

#ANZstrike

6 COMMENTS

  1. Bank workers are never paid fairly.

    My wife worked in four banks in three countries in 30 years and was always on the lower paid rung of all workers .

    Go ANZ staff we are all behind you.

  2. $11,000.00 A Day ! ? You have got to be fucking kidding me ?

    New Zealand / Aotearoa should purge all foreign owned banks from our shores immediately .

    Default on off-shore loans , write off all mortgage debt , close our financial markets to foreign manipulation , re nationalise our assets , go it alone and see what happens . We could win a terrible war being waged against us and by not firing one single shot .

    You know what I think might happen ? The financial world would stop turning and watch us with the same intensity as a stoat watches a baby rabbit .

    The good staff at those banks should be given a $50 K relocation allowance , a tax free four years and free public transport to move into the provinces to learn to grow foods and mull wine for their long weekends with their kids and greater Whanau .

    Anyone reading this should pause and think . The NZ Bank conundrum is an exquisite madness . You do know that right ? They desperately need us while we don’t actually need them at all . Not at all .

    Does that bank man need his $11,000.00 a day ? You bet he does . Do we need a bank man being paid $11,000.00 a day ?

    Your answer is : ……………………………… ?

    Take your time now .

  3. The staff at my ANZ are great. If you end up needing a strike fund, post a link for contributions on this site. I would like to contribute. The workplace is going to a battlefront over the next three years so I believe financially supporting strikers is an imperative for those who dislike where this Government is taking New Zealand.

  4. This is what you get when you allow foreign transnational corporates take over the control of crucial infrastructure. When are NZers going to wake up to the fact that they are being screwed and then bled dry by Australian corporates in finance/banking, insurance, supermarkets, retailing, property…… . It seems the CER/ANZAC myths mean: bend over, we are going to do to you, what we cannot get away with in Australia.
    ANZ already has a record of disestablishing workers positions when they would not agree to the imposition of new employment conditions and then re-advertising the same positions, but under their new casualisation “flexi” conditions. No discussion, take-it-or-leave-it and don’t rock the boat. Sneaky and under the radar tactics by the bank that undermines the ethos of NZ society and sense of community.
    Surely not legal under NZ industrial and employment laws or does the ‘shonKey Guvmint’ feel it does not apply to foreign corporates?

  5. I don’t care how stressful David Hisco’s job is, or how many billions of dollars he’s responsible for. I imagine he probably feels like Atlas carrying the weight of the world on his bloated, porcine shoulders some days — but it matters not a jot. Nobody. At all. Ever. Needs to be paid such an obscene amount of money for doing a job.

    What does he do with it all? If it were me, I’d have several rooms of my house set aside solely for the purpose of storing the vast mountains of cash I’d accumulated, and my most stressful pastime would be desperately trying to figure out what to spend it on.

    Don’t let the bastards grind you down, guys. You’re worth more than a pittance and stress-induced stomach ulcer.

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