Archive for the 'Unions' Category

Finsec becomes FIRST Union

This is the last ‘Finsec’ Gossip – the Gossip will still come out each week, but it will be for the finance sector in FIRST Union, with the amalgamation of Finsec and the National Distribution Union officially occurring from 1 October.

Finsec President Kelvin Pycroft said the merger was exciting for Finsec members, and that regional conferences taking place in the first couple of weeks of this month would provide a good opportunity for some Finsec activists to meet and work with their new union colleagues.

“As members, the changes you will notice will be subtle – new logo, a new website, some new faces to work with,” said Kelvin Pycroft. “The most important thing to remember is that you’re still a union member and entitled to the representation and support that brings.”

“And, as FIRST Union members, you are now part of the second largest private sector in New Zealand. Even more reason for us to have a strong and active presence in the finance industry.”


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.

Jobs central to pulling world economy out of danger zone

UNI, the global union of which Finsec is a member, is calling on the G20 meeting of world leaders to put jobs at the centre of an economic recovery programme.

UNI General Secretary Philip Jennings said “Workers’ rights and job creation are key to a recovery. President Obama had it right when he said that collective bargaining should be part of a drive towards a fairer and more just economy. However, the reality is that the G20’s negligent procrastination and limited ambition has once again opened the door to greed and self-interest amongst the banking fraternity while tens of millions faced wage cuts, job losses, and poverty.”

UNI and other unions are calling on the G20 to set up a working group on employment and social protection, invest in infrastructure and green jobs and launch a youth pact guaranteeing young people quality employment and education.

FIRST Union on the way

Since Finsec members voted to amalgamate with the NDU to form FIRST Union, work has been going on apace to make the new union come to life!

1 October is the date we’re working towards for the new union, and staff and members from both unions have been busy making decisions on everything from renovations of shared offices, to logos and letterheads, phones, websites – you name it, we’re working on it!

As Finsec members, what you’ll notice will mainly be cosmetic changes at first – the staff you work with will still be the same, and of course your union fees will be frozen (ie they won’t go up) for the next three years.

Finsec President Kelvin Pycroft said he was really looking forward to the amalgamation and that it would give Finsec members a good sense of security being part of a bigger union, but also retaining a dedicated finance sector. “When we’re in FIRST Union, we will be able to engage with a broader membership base, particularly in our local areas.”

Rising costs hitting low and middle income earners hardest

Council of Trade Unions economist Dr Bill Rosenberg says that inflation doesn’t really show the full price rises faced by low income households, and that lower income people are hardest hit by increased costs.
Rosenberg explains that they are hit differently because a bigger proportion of low income’s people’s spending goes on necessities than it does for high income people.
The 30 percent of households with the lowest income spend 15.1 percent of their expenditure on fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, and grocery food. The top 30 percent in terms of income spend only 10.9 percent of their spending on these items. When it comes to housing, low income people spend 30.7 percent of their expenditure, while high income people spend only 23.6 percent on housing.
Worth thinking about, if people claim that the tax cuts compensated for inflation and GST rises – maybe not, for those on a low or middle income!

Be there for CTU election forums

Finsec delegates are invited to attend CTU election forums taking place 23 August-1 Sep. CTU President Helen Kelly will be there, as well as senior politicians from Labour and the Greens, to discuss issues of importance to working people in the election and MMP referendum.

If you want to attend, email and we’ll send you a registration form. Forums start at 5.15pm and run till 8pm. Dates are as follows:

Hamilton Tue 23 Aug                 Auckland Thu 25 Aug

Palmerston Nth Tues 30 Aug     Wellington Wed 31 Aug

Dunedin Thu 1 Sep

$20 billion profit not enough – Aussie banks recommence offshoring programme

Apparently even $20 billion annual profit is not enough, with Australian banks looking to cut costs by moving jobs offshore.  Westpac is sending 100 jobs to India, and ANZ has 150 jobs in its sights, likely to be sent to the Philippines.

Delegates from Finsec’s sister union the FSU met this week and adopted an urgent motion condemning the offshoring and calling on the banks to commit to Australian jobs. National Secretary Leon Carter said “The facts are clear; the more money employees make for our big banks the more harshly they’re treated by their employer. Whether it’s ramped up sales targets or the threat of losing their jobs to cheaper labour overseas, bank executives are consumed with bottom line results with little regard for workers or bank customers.”

Kiwi bank workers need to keep a close eye on these developments. As well as supporting our colleagues over the Tasman, we don’t want to see bad employment practices copied here.

Qualification for union delegates

The Council of Trade Unions’ highly successful workers education programme for the New Zealand Certificate in Employment Relations (Union Representation) is ready for a new intake of students in July/August. Maybe you might want to enrol….

The Certificate is a distance learning programme in partnership with Weltec, and enrolment is free. You can do assignments on paper or online.

This is a Level 2 NZQA certificate, and takes about an hour a week. If your interested, please contact Don Farr at the CTU by email

Offshoring not the answer

Westpac Australia CEO Gail Kelly has said that the bank will again look at offshoring Australian jobs, because unemployment is low, skills are at a premium and that it will “improve service”.

Finance Sector Union Secretary Leon Carter says that these reasons hid the real truth, which is “all about cutting costs to increase already massive profits at the expense of Australian workers and customers.”

“The people who actually do the work in the banks, serving customers, know the truth.  They know that offshoring functions and jobs actually makes customer service worse. They are the ones that have to deal with the endless delays and errors that come back from outsourced, offshore processing areas.”

Calls for employers’ chief to resign after stupid comments

CTU President Helen Kelly says Alasdair Thompson, the CEO of the Employers and Manufacturers Association, should resign following comments he made that women are paid less than men because of monthly “sick days”.

Thompson said in a radio interview this week that the 12% gender pay gap was “Because once a month they have sick problems.  Not all women, but some do, they have children they have to take time off to go home and take leave.”

Helen Kelly told NZPA Thompson should stand down immediately. “It will be insulting for every woman worker in this country today that is at work, earning less than men, rushing home to look after kids, dealing with all the household issues. And to hear him suggest there is a physical reason for the difference in pay is just outrageous.”

Kelly and Thompson had been discussing a new bill from Green MP Catherine Delahunty to modernise the Equal Pay Act, and make sure that workers and unions could request information on pay levels by gender in their workplaces to make sure women were being paid fairly.

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