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Westpac Responds With Facts

5 January 2006

Westpac Responds With Facts

Westpac’s head of consumer banking Henry Ford today said that Finsec’s latest media statement was full of the sorts of inaccuracies that made a sensible discussion of Westpac’s existing offer to union members very difficult.

“Once again, it’s time to respond to Finsec’s claims with facts, so that union members and other observers can reach well-informed decisions,” said Mr Ford.

“The facts are as follows:

“A postal ballot on Westpac’s offer is under way and we look forward to the results after 13 January. This ballot could have been held well before Christmas, in order to give staff time to properly consider the complex terms of the offer and provide some certainty heading into the Christmas break, but the union refused to do so.

“There is no discrimination by Westpac against staff members who belong to the union. Westpac has always respected the rights of staff to choose to belong to a union, just as we have respected the rights of the many staff members who, for whatever reason, have chosen not to belong.

“Non-union staff have indeed received a pay increase. Westpac had made a commitment to these staff members to complete their salary review by 1 January 2006 and this commitment has been met.

“Union members, however, have not received an increase because Westpac and Finsec have yet to conclude a new collective employment agreement. The terms of Westpac’s existing offer are by now well known – a minimum across-the-board increase of 5.2% for an 18-month term.

“There is no pressure whatsoever on Westpac staff to ‘keep their mouths shut’, and not a shred of evidence that such a policy is, or has ever been, in place. By contrast, there is abundant evidence that there has been a free and frank exchange of views on these issues since Westpac and Finsec commenced their negotiations.

“Westpac prides itself on maintaining an open and free environment in which discussion and debate are welcomed, without any form of recrimination,” Henry Ford said.

ENDS

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