For immediate release
5 February 2008
New stats show collective bargaining delivers for finance sector
Bank workers’ union Finsec is describing the 6.3 percent average pay increase for the finance and insurance sector over the last year as proof of the effectiveness of collective bargaining and union campaigning. The Labour Cost Index statistics for the year to December 2007 quarter show the highest increase since this series began in 2001.
“Through collective bargaining and an industry wide campaign for Better Banks finance workers have fought for and won some genuine gains in the last year,”said Andrew Campbell, Finsec Campaigns Director. “Pay settlements that have started to close the pay gap between banks have contributed to this significant move.”
Campbell said that the banks still had much to do to improve pay and conditions in the sector, particularly given the enormity of their profits. “Last year the major banks increased their after tax profits between 9 and 15 percent. Banks can afford to be pay leaders and should be making a meaningful contribution to lifting New Zealanders wages.”
“We will continue our Better Banks campaign in 2008 to ensure that staff continue to win fair wage increases and to address other serious industry issues like understaffing, customer debt targets and training. These are achievable goals given the banks record profits,” said Campbell.
Campbell noted that despite the increase, there were some roles in the sector on very low pay.
“We would like to see similar wage increases across other industries to ensure all workers are fairly paid. There is an urgent need for the corporate sector to invest more of their significant profits in good wage increases so New Zealanders can meet rising costs and manage increased household debt,” said Campbell.