7 April 2005
New Zealand workers demand equity with Australians
The Australian owner of ANZ National Bank will see thousands of New Zealand staff walking off the job tomorrow in response to an employment claim from the bank that devalues their weekends.
In Australia all ANZ staff receive recognition for working evenings or weekends. ANZ National wants to deny that compensation for many New Zealand workers, including National Bank retail staff and all new employees.
“Weekends are the time workers get to spend with their kids, and family. It’s when they can play sports, have a barbeque with friends, and go to church.” said Karen Skinner, Campaigns Director for Finsec, the union for bank workers, “Saturday and Sunday are important to workers, to their families, and to their communities.”
“The bank’s claim sends a message to New Zealand workers that our weekends aren’t worth recognising, when Australian workers’ weekends are.” said Anton O’Brien, ANZ National staff member.
“Australian bank owners take over $2 billion of New Zealand money back to Australia each year. Most Bank tellers earn less than the average wage. All our members are asking for, is their weekends to be valued, just like in Australia.” said Karen Skinner. Finsec represents 3,700 staff throughout ANZ National, making this contract negotiation the largest private sector negotiation in New Zealand.
Finsec members will meet around the country at 8.30 tomorrow morning.