Archive for the 'Credit Unions' Category

One ratification, one rejection

Finsec members at Credit Union South have voted to ratify an offer for a two year agreement. Well done to delegates for their work supporting bargaining – particularly Amanda Rohtmets from Dunedin and Lynne Herron from Gore, who were on the bargaining team.

Meanwhile, Finsec members at PSIS have handed their employer a third reject vote on two offers, and are now set to enter mediation with PSIS.


Credit Union South offer to go to ratification vote

Finsec members at Credit Union South will be taking part in ratification vote meetings over the next couple of weeks, following bargaining on 19 April.

The offer is for a two year term, with a 2.5% increase for the first year to the mid point of the matrix, and 3% for the second year. Staff not covered by the matrix who have further annual increment steps would not receive the negotiated pay increase. Members at the top of their scale will receive the increase, but these rates will not be printed into the agreement.

One great outcome of the bargaining: agreement not to use the 90 day trial periods! Making sure trial periods are not used in our industry is a major focus for bargaining this year.

Staff will decide at these meetings whether to accept or reject Credit Union South’s offer.

CU Baywide changes unfair parental leave policy

Finsec members have sorted out another ‘misunderstanding’ about paid parental leave law, this time with Credit Union Baywide. CU Baywide’s policy – that staff on parental leave should take all their annual leave before they return to work, and therefore it be unpaid – was not only unfair, it didn’t comply with the law!

One Finsec member raised the problem and our union challenged it. The result is an amended policy which is being communicated to all affected staff, along with an apology for the error.

This case shows the importance of being union to make sure you’re treated fairly before, during and after parental leave.

Progress being made in Credit Union South negotiations

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Finsec members and Credit Union South resumed negotiations over a new pay system this week with a resolution on changes to the pay system being reached.

Credit Union South is the amalgamation on all the Credit Unions in the South Island and an entirely new Collective Agreement has had to be negotiated this year which has slowed down the process.

Finsec organiser Ainslie Butcher says that Finsec was hopeful that an agreement could go to ratification as early as next week, and that an enormous amount of work had gone into negotiations to date.

Watch this space!

Asteron and Credit Union South trying to breathe life into discredited pay systems

Finsec is raising concerns that Asteron and Credit Union South are both attempting to revive the failed pay systems of the 1990’s, that remove’s Finsec members right to negotiate pay increases in collective bargaining and introducing pay bands instead of salary steps. Finsec members are considering proposals from both employers that in effect hand over all pay decisions to the bosses.

Finsec members favour a pay system with two significant components:
•    Negotiated pay increases through collective bargaining to cover increases in the cost of living or make other adjustments
•    Movement up pay steps on the basis of demonstration of skills (rather than the achievement of sales targets)
A third component would be additional payments on the basis of performance, but in our view this should comprise a minor proportion of overall pay.

Finsec General Secretary Andrew Casidy categorises Asteron and Credit Union South’s moves as a backward step. “These systems cede total control over pay to the employer and invariably lead to pay falling behind similar employers. We saw Westpac pay lag behind other banks in the 1990s due to this kind of pay system, and it is only now catching up after a complete overhaul of the way pay is determined.”

Overseas news

Papua New Guinea forest

Australia/Papua New Guinea

ANZ is telling Australian environmental critics it will make its transactions in the forestry sector more transparent in the future.

The announcement follows an advertising campaign in which six ANZ customers express concern that their bank provides a service for logging company Rimbunan Hijau.  The Malaysian-owned company controls half of PNG’s forestry sector and bares the brunt of accusations that up to 90% of logging in PNG is illegal.


In Guyana the Guyana Human Rights Association, the Consumers’ Association and the Trades Union Congress are all criticising the way Republic Bank has detained, harassed and fired six employees that it accused of stealing $8 million from an ATM. The clerical workers union as that the workers, who were not union members were at the mercy of the managers while in a unionised environment, employees have written and binding guarantees.


Sue Dunlevy from the Daily Telegraph speculates what it would be like if Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, took a dose of his own medicine and was placed on an individual employment agreement with performance targets that he was required to meet:

“Prime Minister John Howard, his entire Cabinet and every Government MP have accepted a 5% pay cut after interest rates rose for the 4th time since the election.

It is the sixth pay cut suffered by Government MPs for failing to honour promises made in the 2004 election.”


The Ontario Credit Union workers that we reported on in February are still on strike after six months. Some of them have just occupied a branch and padlocked the doors to try to get the credit union back to the bargaining table.

“Brenda Moulton, who worked in mortgage administration, broke down and cried. ‘The reason I did this is because I have four kids. I’m on strike. My husband lost his job. I had to do something. They have no idea what I’m going through.'”

(thanks to kahunapulej for the photo)

Canadian credit union workers seek your help

Hamilton, Ontario in winterSeventy credit union workers in the city of Hamilton, Ontario, have been on strike for four months now, since 20 October.

The women are picketing against their employer, which is trying to remove many of the benefits that they have negotiated over the years through their union. First Ontario Credit Union wants its workers to give up sick days and retirement benefits as well as job security. The credit union recently announced record profits. It has cancelled its annual general meeting, which will stop its largely union member customers from protesting against its actions to date.

As LabourStart notes, it is cold on the picket line in Hamilton during February but these women are determined to win. You can support them by sending an email to their CEO calling for the First Ontario to return to the bargaining table and negotiate fairly.

(Thanks to wmacphail for the photo)

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