Archive for the 'Work-Life Balance' Category

Campaign for better shifts get results

An ongoing campaign for fixed shifts at the ANZ Australian Call Centre in Wellington delivered results at mediation last week.

Finsec members agreed to put our legal case to the Employment Relations Authority on hold following the mediation. The understanding  is that the centre will move to fixed days of week with a small variability in start and finish times, that everyone would get input into the new roster system, and that there would be a fair process developed so staff could move to their preferred shift. This process is to be complete by March 2012.

The success shows the value of a campaign with various strands that members have supported over the last year. The issue has been raised at bargaining, been pursued through a working party with the bank, and through legal avenues. Most importantly, members have participated in collective activities, recruited their colleagues and kept the pressure up! Well done to all involved!


Real movement in Contact Centre working party

Finsec members everywhere can take heart from this week’s meeting of the ANZ National Contact Centre working party. After getting together and taking action in support of all staff receiving improvements to rosters, it seems the bank is listening!

While no concrete decisions have been made, this meeting saw the bank acknowledge that less variation in shifts and fixed days were best for staff, and for productivity. In response to the Finsec email campaign, they are also looking to trial small improvements for Australian Contact Centre staff.

Finsec National Councillor David Costello said the process required patience, but that there was now light appearing at the end of the tunnel. “We are looking at outcomes which will not only mean better shifts for Finsec members, but will also be good for the bank. We’re getting there!”

Finsec members promoting a “better option” for call centre rosters

Finsec members at ANZ and National bank contact centres are promoting a better option on rosters – including through a petition to the bank after the bank put forward a proposal seeking great roster flexibility.

There is currently a working party in progress to address members’ concerns about the impact of rostering on work/life balance.

The petition calls on the bank to give everyone the option of fixed shifts, to ensure that everyone has at least one day off every weekend and to vary start times of shifts by no more than three hours.

Liz Sayers from the National Bank Contact Centre in Wellington said that the bank had to recognise that everyone needs work/life balance. “Family is very important to me and when you have children you can’t change shifts easily and you shouldn’t be expected to. There are also extra costs involved with child care if you have to work different shifts.”

Union Councillor Cory MacKinnon from the National Bank Contact Centre in Auckland has moved from variable to fixed shifts so knows what a huge difference it makes. “The variable shifts mean you have no certainty in you life to make even the most basic plans – not to mention the havoc it plays with your sleep patterns.”

Watch this space for news on the campaign – and if you’re in one of those Contact Centres, make sure you sign the petition asap! All petitions need to be back by next Monday at the latest as we meet with the bank on Tuesday.

Best worker protection for Easter trading = status quo

Yet another bill (the 8th since 1996) to extend Easter trading has failed, with National MP Jacqui Dean withdrawing her proposed law change saying she wants to improve worker protections.

But the union for retail workers, the NDU, says the best way to protect workers is to retain the status quo. “Even experienced retail workers who know their rights find it hard to say no to working on a busy day, and don’t want to let the team down,” said General Secretary Robert Reid.

“Easter Sunday is not a public holiday, so workers will not get any compensation, such as time in lieu, for working that day. It will become an ordinary working day for people who work in the retail sector.”

ANZ National forcing call centre staff to work 10 days straight – “We never see our families”

ANZ staff who work in the Wellington-based call centre that handles calls from customers in Australia have gone public this week over their employment conditions which can see them work up to 10 days straight and in unhealthy shift patterns.

Finsec members at the call centre describe the rotational shift as brutal, and say it disrupts sleep patterns, causes illness and damages family relationships.

ANZ Customer Services Consultant Arlyn Rupita says these shifts leave her feeling like she’s not doing a good job as a mother to her two young children. “They really miss me – and its too long for me to go without spending decent time with them too.  I feel like I’m having withdrawal symptoms from not seeing my own kids enough.”

Fellow ANZ staff member Tina Eshaya says the way these shifts are structured means work overpowers family and other commitments. “It’s got to the point where my daughter hates me going to work. Family comes first with me but that’s difficult to achieve with these rosters.”

Finsec is arguing for a fairer, more family friendly approach to the organisation of shifts as part of it’s negotiations with the bank, which are ongoing. “Given the size and profitability of the operation, ANZ are more than capable of accommodating fairer shift patterns,” said Finsec Campaigns Director Andrew Campbell.

Go home on time day

Australian workers are gearing up, well to chill out, on Go Home on Time Day. This November 25, the Australian Institute is encouraging workers to go home at the correct time instead of working the average of 49 minutes of unpaid overtime. The day is designed to raise awareness of the nature and extent of unpaid overtime in Australia and its’ important industrial, health and social consequences. The Gossip thinks this is a great idea – but not for just one day a year!!!

BNZ members stand up to bank – and keep their current hours

Finsec members in BNZ Lending in Wellington have kept their current working hours by joining together and telling the BNZ their plan to extend working hours couldn’t be pushed through due the rights we have in our collective agreement.

Our BNZ collective agreement says staff don’t have to change their hours of work if they don’t want to and that the bank has to take into consideration a staff members personal circumstances.

Finsec members joined together and told the bank on mass all the reasons they couldn’t change their hours. These included things such as childcare, looking after sick parents and partners, study commitments, care of children with disabilities, PTA commitments and volunteering in the community.

Nearly all Finsec members have kept their current hours of work. Those who have changed their hours have done so either by request or have been ok with the proposal to change their hours.

Well done BNZ lending staff!

Vote on more flexibility at BNZ

Finsec members at BNZ will get the opportunity to vote over the next few weeks on whether they want more flexible working arrangements in the form of a nine day fortnight.
The proposed variation to the BNZ collective employment agreement gives an option for staff to arrange to work their 75 hours a fortnight over 9 days instead of the current 10. The arrangements would form part of Individual Work Agreements, and would have limits that staff could not work more than 50 hours in one week or 10 hours in one day.
Details of the variation and voting papers were sent to all BNZ sites on Friday.

Flexible Working Arrangements – Your right to ask

As of this Tuesday, New Zealand workers with caring responsibilities now have a right to request flexible working hours. Finsec was an active member of a Flexible Work Coalition, which lobbied for the legislative change and supported Green MP Sue Kedgley’s bill on the issue.

The Coalition held a celebration to mark the introduction of flexible working arrangements in Wellington on Tuesday, which was attended by a variety of unions and other groups.

A Finsec member is the first in the country to file a claim for flexible working arrangements under the new law, and this claim is currently under consideration.

Bank of American, Bad for America



The fastest growing union in North America, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has launched a “Better Banks” style campaign to reform the largest and most powerful banks in the U.S.A.

The union has released a set of principles for holding banks accountable to consumers and working families which call for basic standards for fees and interest rates on credit cards and other bank products, community reinvestment requirements, and greater scrutiny of bank practices and better consumer protections.

The campaign is accompanied by a research report Shut out of the American Dream: How Bank of America is Systematically Underserving Communities of Color and Harming Low-income Families with Questionable Practices. The report outlines how the Bank of America is worse on locating bank branches in neighbourhoods where the majority of the population is African American or Latino, lends more mortgages to whites that to ethnic minorities, and in 2006 collected more than $22.4 billion (more than half its revenues) from penalty and service fees and other forms of non-interest income.

For more information on this exciting campaign go to:



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