Archive for the 'Restructuring' Category

Job cuts in Perth, Adelaide

Finsec’s sister union the Finance Sector Union (FSU) has condemned the loss of a couple of hundred jobs this week at Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank. Work is being moved offshore or to Sydney, and away from Perth and Adelaide.

Westpac are cutting 120 jobs from their subsidiary Asgard in Perth.  “This decision, dressed up in the language of a strategic review by Westpac, is all about cutting jobs in Perth and sending some of the work overseas and some to Sydney for no other reason than to boost profit. And this is at a time when Westpac is experiencing record profitability,” said FSU General Secretary Leon Carter.

The Commonwealth Bank job cuts are in their Mortgage Services operation in Adelaide, which is being closed and the work moved to Sydney. This announcement comes hot on the heels of the bank’s record profit of $6 billion, and a 75% increase in CEO remuneration.


Westpac staff keep up fight on re-grading

In other job re-grading news, Finsec members are continuing to fight for fairness in the Westpac Cards Call Centre and Phone Assist roles merger. While staff don’t necessarily object to the merger, the new role is significantly more complex and requires a lot more knowledge.

Campaign cover girl and Union Councillor Ve Mika says the pressure needs to be kept on the bank to recognise the complexity of the new role. “We’ve basically doubled our workload and have a very strong message for Westpac.  Fair is fair, our jobs should be re-graded!”

Members have displayed posters at their workstation (featuring Ve) asking Westpac to do the right thing, and been sent many messages of support. Ve has been part of members standing up and getting the bank to change before, and says numbers are key.  “We think that the Head of Call Centres Helen van Orton is a reasonable person and I believe that if we can show her that enough people are upset, she will do the right thing”

A meeting has been set up with the Head of Call Centres Helen van Orton for Friday April 30 to discuss the issue. More messages of support welcome – just email

Fair pay? Fair enough!!

Finsec members at Westpac Phone Assist and Cards Call Centre are determined that their more complex roles should be recognized with improved pay.

Many Finsec members have already sent in stories about how cross-skilling of the Phone Assist and Cards Call Centre roles has made their jobs significantly more complex, many other Finsec members at Westpac have sent messages supporting the call for a review of the pay for this role.

Union Councillor Ve Mika said that staff in these roles are currently very stressed. “Workload has more than doubled and the training is not adequate. Westpac has got to stop giving us the run-around and resource, train and pay staff fairly.”

Finsec keeping tabs on BNZ One Role

Finsec representatives met with the BNZ this week to discuss the One Role and refurbishment rollout process. The key messages that Finsec representatives took to the meeting was that it was essential that delegates be fully involved in the process, and that they be given release to participate.

BNZ Union Council Chair Callum Francis says that there is still a great deal of details about the One Role changes that need to be clarified, and misinformation that needs to be corrected. “Some managers have said that all stores will be affected, but the bank has assured us several times that it will only be smaller stores with less staff.”

Callum said that there were serious issues about the restructuring which Finsec would be monitoring, particularly around grading of roles and workload. “We believe very strongly that delegates in affected sites need plenty of opportunity to be informed about One Role and give their feedback. We’re determined to make sure that any restructuring done this year be done fairly.”

Banks’ grading needs upgrading

Both Westpac and the National Bank need to increase their responsiveness with regards to grading roles fairly.
At Westpac, the merging of the Phone Assist and Cards Call Centre roles in late 2009 has led to problems with the appropriate Position Description and grading for the role. Finsec strongly believes that the complexities of the merged role mean that it should be graded at B+ rather than the current B grading.
Finsec members in Auckland and Christchurch are getting active in response to Westpac’s inaction, and are emailing the head of call centres with their concerns. Our message to the bank is that staff are working their guts out without proper recognition and the proper pay.
Finsec members at the National Bank Contact Centre are continuing their campaign to get the direct banking role upgraded to reflect extra duties. Members have been waiting on a response from the bank since a meeting in October, and have been hurrying the bank along with emails. A response is due this Sunday, and members are already thinking of ways to get active in support of the change of grade.

National bank shifting branch work to “remote” call centres

National bank has been piloting a concept called Remote Branch where a new call centre team will service and support existing bank customers, with the intention of freeing up lenders in branches to deal exclusively with walk-in customers.

Finsec members are worried that this will mean less staff in branches that are already understaffed.

“It is all very well to shift the work to a call centre, but what that ignores is all the other work that people pick up in branches to support each other. Less staff on the floor will mean more work, even if some of it can be handed on to the call centre,” said Finsec Campaigns Director Tali Williams.

“We have asked the bank a number of questions about the roll out in Wellington and have requested a face to face meeting of National Bank branch and call centre delegates and the bank to discuss the proposal – there are some massive changes in this and it is important that concerns of staff are listened too,” said Tali.

Some managers outside of Wellington and Auckland have told staff they will be affected by Remote Branch resulting in changes of hours for staff or even staff cuts, despite the bank advising Finsec that no decisions have yet been about Remote Branch outside of Auckland and Wellington.

Please contact Finsec immediately if you are told your branch will be affected by Remote branch.

We’re asking George to slow down

Over 600 Westpac staff have signed and returned flyers to Finsec that ask Westpac to “slow down”. Staff across Branches, Operations, and Call Centres have participated in this activity because they’ve had enough of Westpac rushing change through and not listening to staff.

The flyers have now been sent directly to CEO George Frazis.

In a letter accompanying the flyers Finsec Union Council Chair Maxine Mullen said “It’s like the old saying – “you can do something right, or you can do it fast”. At the moment Westpac is doing it fast… We hope that you see our plea to “slow down” as a genuine attempt to make Westpac a better bank. Let’s slow down and do things right.”

We’ll keep you posted on the pace of Westpac’s restructuring frenzy!

Finsec members stand up against rushed merger

Finsec members at Westpac Phone Assist and Cards Call Centre have stood up against the rushed merger of their workplaces with great results!

Deadlines were piling up on the hasty restructure, issues were unresolved and inadequate time had been allocated for training. Delegates and members in two sites in Auckland decided to take a stand, and refused to participate in cross training until Westpac sorted the mess out. Westpac had to postpone their training and start working with Finsec members to address our concerns.

Union Councillor Ve Mika is directly affected by the changes and says “We felt moved to take action because the bank said they wanted our views, and then rushed straight on to the next steps with no evidence they were listening to us. As delegates, we know what our rights are and that we have the support of our fellow staff and therefore we felt safe to take a stand to slow things down.”

Ve said that when the training was postponed, staff came and shook her hand and congratulated her. “I said, its not me – its down to you guys making yourselves heard. I’m so proud of the delegate here who took the first step to say no to doing this training and I’m proud to stand beside her. By sticking together, we have shown what being part of Finsec is all about, and what we can achieve.”

The result? Finsec activists Rebecca Brothers and Di Cox had a constructive meeting with the Head of Call Centres on Wednesday, presenting a number of changes Finsec members wanted made. Westpac has agreed to these improvements to the restructure process, and the first cross training will take place in a few weeks.

The faster Westpac goes, the bigger the mess?

Finsec members at Westpac are calling on the bank to slow down their fast pace of restructuring With nearly everyone’s role being changed in branches, jobs being cut in back offices, and phone assist merging with the cards call centre, Finsec members are saying the bank needs to slow down and listen to staff.

Staff are demanding the bank extend consultation periods, not force staff into roles against their wishes and allow for voluntary redundancies, honour their commitment to try and maintain current staffing levels, and to improve training for new roles.

“At the moment, we are having change thrown at us from all directions and being told to follow like puppets. This is not going to meet the bank’s goals of quality service, and can only have a negative impact on morale,” says Union Councillor Tasneem Khan from Takutai Square.

“By highlighting our key issues and telling the bank to slow down, we are getting right at the bullseye about where staff concerns are. We are not currently being heard, and slowing down will help ensure that staff are heard,” says Tasneem.

Non-union staff consulted on Westpac call centre restucturing

A number of Finsec members contacted us concerned that consultation meetings about the proposed Westpac call centre restructuring were held with non-union staff only yesterday. Word has got around from these meetings that they were about cross-training Phone Assist and Cards Call Centre staff and an eventual merger between the two sites.

National advocate Michael Wood said Finsec members were understandably upset about this. “It is completely inappropriate for the bank to separate out staff on the basis of union membership for meetings such as this, particularly when it means that one group are left in the dark waiting to hear what it is all about,” he said.

Finsec will be formally complaining to Westpac about this matter. “We will also ensure that a Finsec representative is present at meetings when they are held with union members. In their actions so far Westpac has disrespected Finsec members, and we will ensure that going forward we are listened to and respected,” said Michael Wood.

If you have any queries about the proposal please talk to your Finsec delegate or organiser.

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0800 FINSEC (0800 346 732)

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