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Westpac: Are you listening to your staff?

Westpac: Are you listening to your staff?

Westpac, the employer who last year won an EEO Trust award for its work-life balance policy, today has its call centre staff walking off the job in a bid to get their employer to address their work-life concerns.

Union members at Westpac’s three call centres in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch rejected the bank’s collective agreement offer, because it failed to deliver work-life balance or equality with other bank staff. The majority of staff are union members.

In winning its EEO award Westpac stated that “work-life initiatives increase morale, productivity, creativity and employee and customer engagement, and reduce costs associated with sick leave, absenteeism and turnover”.

“We believe it therefore makes good business sense to address call centre staff work-life concerns” said Karen Skinner, an organiser for the bank workers’ union, Finsec.

“These workers are on a continually changing roster system, for which they only get four weeks’ notice. Recent EEO research showed that broken shift rosters could negatively affect both relationships and quality of work.

“The bank also requires call centre staff to work half an hour more each day than their colleagues in other areas of the bank” Karen concluded.

“I really want to complete study outside of work, but I can’t commit to any classes because I don’t know when I will be scheduled to work” said Alicia Farman, a worker at Auckland Phone Assist. “I want to be able to get some formal qualifications, but I also need to keep working to pay the bills.”

Alicia Farman said the call centre staff were after a fair deal. “This is about doing the best for both workers and the bank.”

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