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Staff Urge Bank to Put its Money Where Mouth Is

Media Release
Tuesday 8 June 2004

Westpac Call Centre Staff Urge Bank to Put its Money Where its Mouth Is

Staff employed by a major bank that last year won an EEO Trust award for its work-life balance policy have voted to walk off the job in a bid to get their employer to address their work-life concerns.

Union members at Westpac’s three call centres in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch rejected the bank’s collective agreement offer, because it failed to deliver work-life balance or equality with other bank staff.

“The bank requires call centre staff to work half an hour more each day than their colleagues in other areas of the bank,” said Karen Skinner, an organiser for the bank workers’ union, Finsec.

“These workers are also on a continually changing roster system, for which they only get four weeks’ notice.”

Recent EEO research showed that broken shift rosters could negatively affect both relationships and quality of work.

“This is for my four year old son” said David Teokaotai, a worker at the Auckland call centre who voted to strike. “If I do not have proper work-life balance, then I miss out on valuable time with him, and he misses out on having his Dad around.

“Week by week I have to work different hours, which means that there is no stability for the kids or my partner. We are also expected to work more hours than anywhere else in the bank, which means I have less time than anyone else with my kids. It just doesn’t seem fair.”

Karen Skinner said the call centre staff were after a fair deal. “A better balance between work and life improves morale and productivity, so this is about doing the best for both workers and the bank.”


Note: The call centre staff will take strike action on Tuesday, June 8. They intend to deliver messages of support from family members, friends and community groups to Westpac CEO Ann Sherry that day at 10.30am, Price Waterhouse Cooper building, 188 Quay street, Auckland.

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