BNZ and Westpac share common problem
Union members at BNZ and Westpac Banks, the second and third biggest banks in New Zealand, have just completed three weeks of stopwork meetings. The meetings identified issues that workers want to raise at their upcoming negotiations. Although the banks will be having separate negotiations, the union covering the workers, Finsec, believes that the two banks share many of the same problems. The stopwork meetings were the first time in fifteen years that workers from two separate banks met together to devise claims and strategies for their employment negotiations.
Workers from the two banks found that they had very similar issues that need to be addressed. These include understaffing, high workload and unrealistic performance targets that affect their pay.
“BNZ and Westpac have just found out how much they have in common with each other. Sadly the things they share are workload, stress and unachievable performance pay targets. All of these things are symptoms of the larger problem of understaffing.” Said Finsec National Organiser, Bella Pardoe.
At the meetings workers shared stories about understaffing and workload, such as:
- Workers being unable to take holidays at the same time as their children, or being asked to return from holidays because their worksite was understaffed.
- Entire offices working late or missing morning and afternoon tea breaks without compensation.
- High workload causing stress and pressure on families of workers.
- Workers coming to work because of workload pressures despite being sick.
The union is challenging the two banks to make a clear commitment to addressing understaffing and high workload at the outset of negotiations. “We are working towards productive, solutions-focused negotiations with the two banks. Fair pay to address the retention issues both banks now face would ease both workload and understaffing.” Said Bella Pardoe