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Is this the end of WestpacTrust as we know it?

Friday, May 25, 2001

For immediate release
Is this the end of WestpacTrust as we know it?

"Jobs will disappear in the longer term because of the new company that WestpacTrust and the Warehouse have set up," said Gordon Webley of Finsec the union for bank and insurance workers.

"The company's initial business is to sell credit and insurance. However, we see it as a staged process to shift the bank's operation onto a different footing.

"The longer term plan seems to be to extend hours of work, take away the protection of a union and a collective agreement and increase workloads.

"WestpactTrust's back office and retail staff will suddenly find themselves working for two masters – the bank and the new joint-owned company with which they have no employment agreement.

"WestpacTrust was not forthcoming with Finsec members at the last negotiations when we asked them about their future plans," said Mr Webley. "Our members will see this as a serious breach of good faith.

"Although 28 back-office staff will be employed to help with a potential 1.5 million more customers, that will certainly not be enough.

"Existing staff are already under enormous pressure from their jobs, as are WestpacTrust retail staff.

"Retail staff – who are in the firing line between frustrated customers and management – will initially be involved in giving out 200,000 pin numbers on top of their existing workload. There seem to be no plans to provide them with relief.

"As well many of the Warehouse’s customers will be drawn into a net of debt from which they will find no escape.

"We will be talking with members to find out how they feel about this threat to their health and their jobs," said Mr Webley.


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