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Can you spare a dime, Mister?

27 April 2006

Can you spare a dime, Mister?

ANZ Australia, which owns ANZ and National Banks in New Zealand, is expected today to announce a record interim profit, far in excess of AU$1.5 billion. Australian commentators have suggested that much of that growth is due to profits from its two New Zealand bank brands.

Finsec, the union for bank workers, is calling for some of this profit to be spent on rewarding the New Zealanders who helped create it. Finsec’s Campaigns Director, Karen Skinner, said:

“For New Zealand to have hundreds of millions of dollars taken out of its economy each year by Australian bank directors and shareholders is a significant loss. One way that the bank could give something back to the New Zealand economy and invest in local New Zealand communities would be to return some of that profit to its staff in the form a fairer wage increase at the upcoming staff negotiations.”

“When you’re working for a bank that takes hundreds of millions in profit offshore each year you can feel a bit like little Oliver Twist at employment negotiations asking for more. But the reality is that many bank workers in in call centres, back offices and branches are paid on or around the average wage and their bank can afford to pay them a lot better without turning its shareholders into paupers.”

Finsec is currently holding nationwide stopwork meetings for ANZ and National Bank workers to discuss their pay and pay systems. Negotiations between Finsec and ANZ National begin in June over one of the largest private sector employment agreements in New Zealand.


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