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Bank Walks Out On Talks, Staff Set To Strike

MEDIA RELEASE

Finsec, The Finance Sector Union

6 May 2005 For immediate release

Bank walks out on talks, staff set to strike

ANZ National Bank collective agreement discussions broke down today following the bank making no movement on its offer and then walking out on negotiations. The eight ANZ and National bank staff who have been negotiating the collective employment agreement on behalf of their 3,700 union colleagues were disappointed to see the bank make no changes to their unfair offer of two weeks ago.

The key issue which remains unresolved is the bank's refusal to recognise the value of weekends and late evenings. Currently the bank offers workers in Australia compensation if they work evenings or weekends, but it is denying this compensation to many of its New Zealand workers. Weekends are normally the time that workers get to spend with friends and family, play sports, or go to church. Bank workers take this issue so seriously that they have already voted to reject the bank's offer four times and taken two rounds of industrial action. Stunningly, again the bank has ignored this strength of feeling.

The bank was brought back to the negotiating table after a day of strikes and pickets on Friday 22 April. At those strike meetings workers authorised their union, Finsec, to call rolling strikes at very short or no notice if, at this latest round of negotiations, the bank did not respond to the workers' key issue of compensation for working weekends and evenings. Those strikes could be initiated from today and will continue indefinitely.

"Weekends are when we get to catch up with family and friends." Said Anton O'Brien, ANZ National negotiator. "The bank should value people who work these unsociable hours, just like they value their Australian workers who have to work during the weekend. We'd definitely rather be working than on strike. The bank has left us no option, but they can still stop the strikes if they start to listen."

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