Staffing still an issue at Westpac

Marie MarshamOne of the big issues that Finsec members will be raising with Westpac at next week’s negotiations is staffing.  Finsec members had a big win a few weeks ago campaigning to stop the cutting of 84 jobs from the bank’s retail network. But we also know from all the responses received from those campaigning members across the entire country that staffing was an issue even before Westpac announced its intention to cut jobs.

Westpac’s own figures show that staff levels fell 4% in one year from 6,351 in 2005 to 6,083 in 2006.

In the same report as these staffing figures Westpac wrote:

“Attracting and retaining the best people to work at Westpac is fundamental to achieving our goal of being the number one bank for customer service. If our employees are well trained, happy and feel supported by their team, they will be better equipped to make customers feel special.”

For Marie Marsham, a Westpac Union Councillor at Waihi branch, staffing is a huge issue:

“If you ask any customer what their main problem is with the bank, I think the first one would be queues. If you haven’t got the right amount of staff in the branch then there are queues and you can’t be sitting out the back doing a CNA, Customer Needs Analysis, or in the office with someone. I can’t do that. I feel pressured and stressed when there is five or six people standing at customer support waiting for service.”

So, what’s Marie’s solution to the problem of understaffing?

“More members. More members. Coming from ANZ I can see that the more people we have in the union the more change it will make, or maybe they’ll be more willing to listen. Because if you go to them with issues and they think ‘well, there’s not enough of you there that really care about this’. I don’t think they are as willing to listen. They have greater density at ANZ as far as membership and just look at the difference in pay.”


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