Archive for the 'International' Category

Banks made ‘essential industry’ in Fiji

Bank workers are facing the tough end of anti-union policies in Fiji, with banking deemed an ‘essential industry’, a move which effectively outlaws trade unions.

The decree means that industry-based unions will not be able to function, as union staff members won’t be recognised, only employees of designated corporations. Collective agreements are being deemed to have expired, and employers will be able to impose unilateral reductions in terms and conditions. Employers are also not required to deduct union fees.

Finsec is participating in the CTU campaign to end the bullying and harassment of Fiji union officials, and to support democracy in the country.


Most finance workers pushing products

Finsec’s sister union, the Finance Sector Union of Australia, released research this week that shows workers are under sustained pressure to sell financial products regardless of customer needs.

A survey of bank, insurance and financial services employees has found more than half have seen customers steered toward financial products that the customer may not have needed, in order to reach management driven performance targets.

“The ‘Do you want fries with that’ mentality is alive and well in the Australian finance sector, despite ballooning levels of personal debt. This approach is completely at odds with the notion of responsible lending and professional service,” said FSU National Secretary Leon Carter.

“The problem is not the finance sector workforce but the upper echelons of our big banks and insurers, who hold employees to ransom on the condition that they sell more products. Woe betide any employee that doesn’t sell the required number of credit cards, loans or whatever the product of the month is. They won’t just miss out on the next pay rise, they might also lose their job.”

Credit reform & Better Banking issues as Aussies head to the polls

With Australians heading to the polls tomorrow, Finsec’s sister union the FSU has described Labor’s credit reforms policy as a step in the right direction. If elected, Labor plans to stop banks and credit providers from automatically increasing credit limits and put the power to nominate credit limits back in the hands of customers.

The FSU welcomed the proposals but said they would not relieve the enormous pressure on finance workers to sell credit products.

“Customers know that every time they walk into a bank they are bombarded with offers of more products. Not because the customer needs more credit. But because the bank penalises the bank worker if they don’t meet their sales targets,” said National Secretary Leon Carter.

“The Labour Government has listened to the community and sought to increase regulation in certain areas but we believe it is also critical to address the links between bank and finance workers’ remuneration and sales targets on credit products.”

Global unions taking on financial regulation, targets

Global finance union UNI, of which Finsec is a member, has been involved in some recent initiatives to support better regulation of the finance sector, and to promote responsible sales of finance products.
UNI, with other union groups, participated in the consultation on good practice principles for supervisory colleges of multinational banks by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. These colleges were established by the G20 with objectives of closer cooperation and cross-border supervision.

The union groups said financial regulation and supervision has been characterised by de-regulation, exploitation of loop-holes, regime shopping and ineffective supervisory structures, especially regarding multinational banks. In short, any proper system of checks and balances was and still is missing.
See more at :

UNI (and Finsec) has also been lobbying for change in the area of sales targets, with the development of a model charter on responsible sales of financial products. The charter sets out how to make sales fairer for both staff and customers.

Read the charter here:

Click to access Charter%20-Final,%2011.6.-en.pdf

Verkaufsdruck, Nein Danke!

If like the Gossip, you’ve lost most of your high school German – it means “Sales Pressure, No Thank you!”

German bank workers recently achieved a good win on changing targets in collective bargaining – that management should avoid performance pressure, and targets should be formulated so that they are fair, reachable, specific and take account of the needs of customers.

Fairer targets? Ja ja!

Ten years in the making, Aussie staff win impressive new contract at Westpac

After 10 years of having no collective agreement Westpac has finally responded to employee demands for a collective agreement that provides certainty on pay and conditions for their Australian workforce. The Finance Sector Union and the bank have concluded negotiations for the agreement covering 26,000 staff.

The deal would deliver 10% pay increases for most staff through the 26 month term, and provide for independent arbitration of individual disputes – including around targets and performance assessments. It also includes 13 weeks paid parental leave, in addition to government payments.

The outcomes of bargaining are especially interesting for Finsec members who are less than a month away from bargaining with Westpac.

FSU members are now considering the negotiated outcome and will cast their votes in the coming weeks.

Thousands of Bank of Scotland jobs to go

The Royal Bank of Scotland announced that it was slashing 2,600 jobs this week – part of a total of 22,600 jobs that have been cut since it was bailed out by taxpayers in October 2008.

Between 300 and 500 jobs of the insurance jobs in the UK are to be offshored, a move that was condemned by trade union Unite and by politicians.

Rob MacGregor, Unite’s national officer for finance, said “This is a devastating blow for a dedicated workforce which has worked very hard to turn around the fortunes of RBS following some disastrous decisions by previous management.”

The Shawshank Offshoring

Offshoring of bank work took a ridiculous new turn this week when it was revealed that bank processing work for the Royal Bank of Scotland and Goldman Sachs will undertaken by inmates at Charalapally Central Jail, imprisoned for crimes ranging from petty theft to rape. The move is raising major questions about security.
The prisoners will earn 5000 rupees or around $120 per month, about a third of starting salaries at other data centres in the Hyderabad region. Radiant Info Systems spokesperson CN Gopinath Reddy said once they become experienced in the work, prisoners will have a whole new world of opportunity waiting for them after their release.

Obama’s Finsec-style plan for banks

A proposed international tax on banks is top of the agenda at this weekend’s meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from the G20 countries.

President Obama has had a serve at Wall St this week as part of his campaign to introduce greater regulation, and said “A free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it.”

Barack Obama reiterated his plan for the same type of financial reform Finsec has been promoting for New Zealand for the last eighteen months. His proposals include:

• Limiting the size of banks and their risky transactions

• Providing more transparency of financial transactions

• A dedicated consumer protection agency

Obama went on to say “Some — and let me be clear, not all — but some on Wall Street forgot that behind every dollar traded or leveraged there’s family looking to buy a house, or pay for an education, open a business, save for retirement. What happens on Wall Street has real consequences across the country, across our economy.”

Bank wholesale guarantee could be ending – time for a new bank tax?

The New Zealand government is sending signals that its wholesale funding guarantee for banks could be winding down, following a decision to end the similar scheme in Australia.

Finsec Campaigns Director Tali Williams said that any end to the wholesale funding guarantee should be accompanied by a tax like that being discussed in Europe and America in order to ensure that banks are paying their fair share of taxes – given the huge influence and risks they pose to our global and national economies.

“A tax like Obama and other world leaders are proposing would give greater security to our economies.  It would also provide much needed income to address both the impacts of the global financial crisis and pressing needs of many countries to do more to assist their citizens and taxpayers – not less.”

A campaign for a global tax on banks’ financial transactions, dubbed a “Robin Hood” tax, was launched last week by 50 organisations including Oxfam, aid agencies, unions, environmental groups and economists. Actor Bill Nighy fronts a promotional film for the tax – you can check it out at the link below:

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