Tough negotiations at Southern Cross Building Society

Southern CrossFinsec members at Southern Cross Building Society voted to ratify a collective agreement offer last week. The offer was accepted by 68% of members voting.

The full settlement includes a pay increase of 4.25%, backdated to 1 July 2007 and a 6.7% increase in the minimum rate payable after two years from $15 per hour to $16 per hour. There are also improvements to the eye testing allowance, sick leave accumulation and redundancy notice.

However Finsec delegate, Anne Lapwood, says the negotiations were tough and some issues also went unresolved.

“If it wasn’t for our strong membership and being united we would not have gotten the result we have.  It was very hard this year, one of the toughest years we have had. We had to go back in twice. It was a reject vote to start with… Southern Cross members have got to the point where they are a little fed up with being on the back foot as compared to other finance institutions as far as our pay system is set up, and we just wanted recognition for the extra work that we are going to be called on to do now.”

Finsec advised Southern Cross of the accept vote in a letter, but also took time to outline ongoing concerns raised by Finsec members about existing staff working on lower wages than new staff, and plans to make major changes to the work that staff perform.

As Anne Lapwood notes, one of those issues will be a fairer pay system:

“We don’t actually have a pay system unfortunately. It‘s basically we’ll give you want we think, which is frustrating and a little unfair. It’s one of the things we are working on and have advised the company that next year we will be going for a transparent wage system.”

“Most members were all very loyal and very determined and I think it was good that we were very united really… There is still quite a bit of unhappiness there. But there is hope and understanding that we can make better progress next year.”

(thanks to joka2000 for the photo)

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