Archive for the 'Health and Safety' Category

Gossip with gossip

We want to hear from you more each week, so will be regularly asking you to Gossip with Gossip – you can reply via email or on Finsec Members Facebook page…. This week, we particularly want to hear from anyone at Westpac who is experience issues with performance management processes – we have seen a spate of new problems with this. We also want to hear about more chair shortages. Following our story about a lack of seating for tellers at Westpac Paraparaumu, we’ve had lots of calls about this being a problem


Standing up for our rights – to sit down

Finsec members at Westpac Paraparaumu have won a basic right in the last few weeks which makes a huge difference to affected workers – the right to a seat at work.

The new branch design didn’t include seats for tellers, which was a major health and safety issue for those staff. Having a seat is even a right under legislation. . Health and safety rep Ellen Mitchell says the problems were numerous. “We were on our feet all day and in constant pain – back pain, knee pain you name it. Even customers would make sympathetic comments about us having to stand all day on the job.”

Complaints were made and the bank was looking into all sorts of complicated solutions – but dragged their feet when it came to providing chairs. A letter on behalf of Finsec members seemed to do the trick however, with the much longed-for chairs arriving with no fanfare.

“We are so happy now,” said Ellen. “This makes a big difference – and our customers are also relieved we don’t have to stand all day.”

Westpac is not the only bank where there’s been an issue with lack of chairs. If this is an issue for you, make sure you contact Finsec.

ACC report due soon – keep in the know!

Big announcements on accident compensation are expected in the next week or so with Nick Smith, the Minister in charge, due to release the ACC stocktake report.

The stocktake committee’s job was to give advice to government on the performance of the scheme.

Initially it wasn’t planning to look into opening up the work account to competition or privatization, but Cabinet papers reveal that the stocktake process was amended at the request of the ACT Party to include a consideration of privatisation.

BNZ staff: issues with new layout & technology need sorting

In their quarterly meeting with the bank this week, BNZ Union Councillors raised issues with the new store layout, and with electronic cash drawers (ECDs) and teller cash recyclers (TCRs).

The fixed height of stations in the new layout is leading to a number of health and safety issues, which the bank is now reporting to the project team and senior management. If any Finsec members are experiencing problems, log a workplace complaint on the bank’s intranet.

Policies around the ECDs and TCRs mean staff in stores have to work past their contracted hours to complete the end of day business. The bank is looking into these policies, and says that if staff are required to stay after hours, they are entitled to be paid overtime or take time off in lieu.

We tell Mytell

Finsec members at National Bank Whanganui have successfully changed their Mytell system settings and saved themselves from hours of squinting.

Staff found that the small font size was difficult to work with, and despite being initially told it couldn’t be increased, finally had success. The squinting days are over. If you have similar problems, contact Finsec for help to sort it out!

Finsec looking after members’ health and safety at work

Former Westpac worker and Finsec member Stephanie Connell  was in the media earlier this week with her story about how exposure to excessive dust and chemicals from cash handling caused her illness so sever that she lost her job at the bank and is now on a sickness benefit.

The case is a timely reminder about one of the key benefits of Finsec membership – the support we give workers when they get injured at work.

Finsec’s legal organisers regularly support union members, including Stephanie, who get injured or sick at work and help them to navigate their way through the complex ACC system. By being a Finsec member you are not on your own when it comes to workplace injury.  We are here to help and do help members all the time.

So if you get injured at work and need support get in contact with your union!

ACC works for all Kiwis – support the rally next Tuesday

Privatising ACC would see injured Kiwis locked in disputes with insurance firms over coverage, rather than getting back on the road to recovery. If you’re in Wellington, join bikers, workers and health professionals to protest the Government’s threats to ACC.

Rally at Parliament, Tuesday February 16, 12 noon: March from Fran Wilde Walkway (Westpac Stadium) to Parliament
Or, meet at Parliament for the rally at 12.30

Join the fight for ACC

There will be an opportunity for Wellingtonians concerned about recent government attacks on our public Accident Compensation scheme to take your message to parliament. A public rally will be held at Parliament on February 16 from midday.

The motorcycle lobby will be out in full force – so try and make it their in your lunchtime or encourage your friends and family in Wellington to be there in support of the world’s best accident and injury compensation scheme.

Healthy future for health and safety training

Despite changes to government policy (and cuts in funding!) the Gossip is pleased to report that ANZ National and Westpac are working together with Finsec to continue health and safety industry training for finance workers.

Having trained representatives is critical to ensuring our workplaces are healthy and safe.

This is a positive outcome, and it is great that the banks recognised the value of the training. Training dates are now being scheduled for 2010.

Your views on ACC changes

Finsec has an opportunity to put members’ views on a series of proposed changes to ACC directly to government later this month.

The changes include:
•    A reduction in the number of hours of work required to meet the definition of Vocational Independence, from 35 hours to 30 hours per week.
•    Reversing 2008 changes that meant people suffering a Gradual Process Injury would be more likely to attain ACC coverage and assistance.
•    Allowing risk rating of experience rating, and the ability to set new rules including no claims bonuses, higher or lower levies and claim thresholds.

We are seeking Finsec members’ views of these changes, and especially any experience of Gradual Process Injury or OOS, and the process of rehabilitation back into the workforce. Send your thoughts to

You can contact us at:

0800 FINSEC (0800 346 732)

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