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Wealthy banks can better support staff

Wealthy banks can better support staff

Big profits at New Zealand’s banks show they have ample room in coming weeks to improve pay and bring in less stressful working conditions, the bank workers’ union said today.

KPMG’s annual Financial Institutions Performance Survey, out today, shows net profit after tax in 2013 at New Zealand registered banks rose from $3.7 Billion to $4.0 Billion – an 8.61 per cent increase.

“Bank profits are sky high, but the intensification of pressure and stress on workers within the industry is at an all time high also,” said Maxine Gay, Retail & Finance Secretary at FIRST Union.

A survey of women in banks released in November found that many are experiencing high levels of stress as a result of the industry’s aggressive sales targets regime, she said. Not reaching targets can result in performance management plans, disciplinary hearings, and ultimately dismissal.

“New Zealand’s big four banks make billions off their New Zealand customer base, and they should lead from the front in their work practices. Instead, the banks are systematically creating stress for workers who are subjected to completely unrealistic sales targets,” Maxine Gay said.

“The scale of profits among the big four banks needs to be questioned by New Zealanders, who are constantly sold the story, today included, that mega profits are a good news story for the New Zealand economy.”

FIRST Union will be entering wage negotiations with Westpac over the coming weeks. Westpac employees will be interested to see what salary increase Westpac offers in this high profit environment, Maxine Gay said.

Ends.

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