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Stress makes BNZ a high danger zone

Media Release Finsec, the finance workers' union

17 November 2005

Stress makes BNZ a high danger zone

Finsec, the finance workers’ union, is launching a campaign tomorrow to remove stress from BNZ branches and back offices. The union believes that stress is widespread among workers in the bank because of serious understaffing and unreasonable demands placed upon those staff in the form of sales targets. This is creating an ethical dilemma for staff who are pressured to encourage customers into debt or to buy more banking products so that staff can reach their targets.

“When workers don’t meet their targets they miss out on pay and can have their job threatened. It’s stressful for workers trying to reach targets that keep moving away from them. And it’s becoming stressful for customers who are constantly being sold products to feed the bank’s greed for ever larger profits.”

Ten years ago the bank used to employ 5,842 staff. Today it employs on 4,779 staff, yet its profits of $541 million are 193% more than they were ten years ago.

So, staff who used to make the bank an average $148,000 operating income per year, now need to make the bank $302,000 operating income per year. Staff have been forced to become more than twice as profitable for their bank, but their pay rates have only risen by 38% in those ten years. The bank forces its profits up by setting sales targets for staff to meet. Those targets grow each year to match the bank’s greed for larger profits, but the number of people employed to meet those targets falls. This is creating undue stress in BNZ. Finsec believes that stress has become a health and safety issue.

Staff are demanding that the bank acknowledge that stress exists in its worksites. Tomorrow Finsec members will be attempting to elect a health and safety representative in every branch, back office area and worksite across the bank. They will also be hanging danger zone signs in their worksites to let management know about their stress concerns.


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