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Bank workers call for greater regulation

For immediate release

19 February 2008

Bank workers call for greater regulation of industry to create Better Banks

Bank workers’ union Finsec is kick starting its Better Banks industry campaign for 2008 with a series of union meetings around the country and a call for legislation to provide greater public control over the way the finance sector operate in New Zealand.

“Given events in the global finance sector in recent months, the lack of strong regulation of our finance sector represents a risk to our economy and society,” said Andrew Campbell, Finsec Campaigns Director. “Banking is now the world’s most profitable industry and New Zealand’s major banks made more than $2 billion profits last year alone, much of which went offshore. It’s not enough to have one “kiwi” bank – we need all banks to act in the interests of Kiwis."

Union members will attend over 100 meetings in 47 locations through February and March to discuss a Better Banks: Agenda for Change, a suite of proposals that aim to advance the quality of employment and customer service within the New Zealand banking industry.

“Our package is designed to increase stability in the finance sector and improve services for communities,” said Campbell. “One of our expectations is that Australian-owned banks should lead the push for fair pay in New Zealand by helping to close the gap between Australian and New Zealand wages."

Campbell said that the banks could be doing much more to provide training for staff in New Zealand and to modernise their approach to industrial relations. “By working with unions across the industry, banks can repeat last year’s successes of good pay increases without sacrificing their more than healthy profits."

ENDS

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