3 May 2006
Finsec the finance workers' union
Is BNZ’s huge profit at expense of workers’ health?
National Australia Bank (NAB), which owns the BNZ, announced a $2 billion dollar interim profit today. This included a $270 million half-year profit from BNZ. Finsec, the union of bank workers, believes that BNZ’s profit has been achieved at the expense of it’s own workers’ health and safety.
The bank’s target-based pay system, which encourages staff to sell ever-increasing amounts of products to their customers, is very stressful for workers. It becomes harder to give good service when constantly trying to sell products customers may not want. Sales targets also encourage overwork, which the bank appears to be using to mask an understaffing problem.
BNZ’s own working party on health and safety has acknowledged that target-based pay and staff levels are causing health and safety problems in its workforce. Prolonged exposure to workplace stress can lead to serious harm in the form of health problems such as clinical depression, ‘burnout’ and heart disease.
“Any bank that is making $2 billion cannot afford to cut corners at the expense of its own staff’s health.” Said Finsec’s Campaigns Director, Karen Skinner. “We want to ask the bank if it is focused on its own staff well-being? It knows what the problem is and it knows what the solution is – more staff and a fair pay system that rewards quality and experience rather than a constant pressure to sell more to customers.”