Strike at Westpac on 23 Dec
Staff at Westpac who are members of the bank workers’ union, Finsec, have voted to hold a nation wide strike on 23 December. The large number of members evidently angry at the bank’s current approach to employment relations has led Finsec’s Union Council to call for a strike on the last banking day before Christmas.
Westpac staff have been campaigning for several months to change the way the bank compels them to sell debt products to customers through a series of targets and performance measures.
For instance Westpac sets its customer service people a target of points they need to get each year. They receive only 10 points for opening a new account, but 25 points for selling a credit card. Staff want the bank to make an employment offer that removes the ethical dilemma that they may sometimes currently face when selling debt products to reach their target.
“We do not take this action lightly and we call on Westpac to recognise the overwhelming concern of customers and staff and remove debt targets from our pay systems”, said Maxine Mullen, Chair of the Westpac Union Council.
“We have tried writing to and talking with the bank. We have tried negotiating with the bank. We have tried debating with the bank in public. But the bank apparently will not move to address its staff’s concerns. That’s why we’re striking.” said Finsec Campaigns Director, Karen Skinner.
“The Friday before Christmas is one of the bank’s busiest days. Our members would rather use that day to highlight their concerns about the bank’s customer debt targets, than sell their customers further debt at the time of year when a lot of people can least afford it.”