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New date set down for bargaining with BNZ

Finsec  members have a new date to resume bargaining with BNZ – 21 September. Bargaining was adjourned as progress on pay and other issues did not meet the mandate set by members.

Many Finsec members have already held meetings to discuss the issues arising from bargaining and identify what was most important to them heading back to the bargaining table. These meetings continue next week.

Most importantly, Finsec members have been completing collective activities to send a strong message of support for our bargaining team. If you haven’t filled yours out, get on to it and fax it back to Finsec on 04 385 2214 by Friday 16th September. .

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Freak out, then walk out

Workers renovating an Italian museum have downed tools over what may be the first industrial action caused by haunting.

Paranormal investigators are now checking out the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, after workers say they hear screaming, experienced sudden drops in temperature, and even saw ghosts.

The architect in charge took a photo on his cellphone that showed a little girl – despite there being no children on site.

Bargaining with BNZ adjourned

Bargaining with BNZ was adjourned last week, as the Finsec team wanted to go back to members to seek feedback. The outcomes of bargaining so far fall short of the mandate set by members.

Union Councillor Tania Cooper said the offer fell short on two areas: the pay, and the bank still pushing to reduce current terms and conditions of staff. “With regards to pay the BNZ is currently not even willing to meet CPI – let alone keeping up with what some other banks are offering.”

Tania said there had been movement on some of the bank’s series of claims, but that the balance was still in favour of the bank’s operations and shareholders, and against staff. “If this is the bank for New Zealand, that includes staff. Staff want the bank to show some flexibility to meeting our needs not just their own.”

Some non-members at the bank didn’t sign up to Finsec in the lead up to bargaining because they didn’t believe BNZ would seriously pursue these changes. Last week’s negotiations show they are serious. Those who oppose the bank’s proposed changes need to join to support the Finsec campaign. Finsec members were able to stop reductions in their terms and conditions in 2009 and can do it again.

Finsec members at BNZ will be holding meetings over the next few weeks to discuss bargaining and our next steps.

Customers want better staffing too!

The Sunday Star-Times annual survey of bank customers show that customers share many of the same concerns as bank staff, particularly a need for a focus on customer service rather than debt sales.

Customers identified adding more personal service staff, reducing queues, and having phone access to staff as important priorities. All of these align very strongly with Finsec member campaigns for increased staffing and relief cover.

Finsec Campaigns Director Tali Williams said despite being some of New Zealand’s most profitable companies, the big banks continue to keep staffing levels at the bare minimum. “Staff aren’t replaced, small restructurings take place that reduce staff numbers, and existing staff are put under more and more pressure to keep up.”

“Customers experience understaffing as poor customer service. Staff experience this as unpaid overtime, inability to take sick leave or holidays, and increasing stress in the workplace leading to health and safety complaints.”

Equal pay petition

Finsec members are participating in an Equal Pay Petition which is being circulated through the Council of Trade Unions.

The Minister of Labour says that there is no need for legislation to modernise the Equal Pay Act 1972, as workers can request Department of Labour inspectors to investigate if they think that men and women are not being paid equally. As there are very few labour inspectors and this mechanism has never been used, unions are trying to test it by getting 100 worksites to request an investigation.

There is a big gap between the average pay for men and women for each hour we work. There is also probably a very big gap in the finance industry – in Australia, where data is available by industry, finance is the industry with the widest pay gap – at 32.2% twice the national average.

Finsec will be asking some of our elected leaders to participate in the campaign and ask for investigations to be conducted in their worksites.

Town mints own money

A small town in Italy is going independent – and printing its own money to protest the government austerity cuts. Fillettino has a population of 550, but is making a big splash trying to set up itself up as a principality. The town’s currency is called the “Fiorito” and features a picture of the mayor on the back. Apparently the new money is already being used by townsfolk. Central government in Rome has not commented on the moves.

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.”

Profit surge at ANZ National

A  45% in underlying profits in the last 9 months is even more of a reason that staff should not be disadvantaged by the potential demise of the National Bank, said Finsec Campaigns Director Tali Williams. The after tax profits of the bank have increased by 19% for the same period, to $735 million.

Williams said that ANZ National staff have responded brilliantly to the questions arising from the review of our collective agreement. “Staff from ANZ and National bank are speaking with one voice when it comes to the change.”

“They want both staff and customers to be treated fairly,” said Williams. “The massive increase in profits over the last year, despite recessionary conditions and earthquakes, means the bank won’t have a leg to stand on if it wants to cut jobs or services in the future.”

The report back from members is currently being collated in readiness for the next phase of the campaign.

50 times your pay

A Business Day survey found that top chief executives are paid as much as 50 times as much as their average employees, and that the best paid was Telecom CEO Paul Reynolds with $4.7 million per annum. That’s 51 times the estimated company average for Telecom staff.

In case you’re wondering, that’s over $90,000 gross per week for Paul Reynolds. Or, much more than most of us will earn for the whole year. Now we know why our cell phone bills are so high!

Financial Summit must lead to action, not more talk

Finsec General Secretary Andrew Casidy said the Government Financial Summit, which he attended this week, must lead to action on loan sharks and not just more talk.

“Finsec members have seen the negative impact of people getting into debt they can’t afford to repay, even in the big banks and credit unions. The wild west of unregistered, unregulated loans sharks charging interest rates of several hundred percent is preying on the poorest and most vulnerable New Zealanders.”

Casidy said that legislation is urgently needed to ensure all lending is responsible. “While there was positive discussion at the Summit, it needs to be followed up with practical solutions for people being victimised by loan sharks. And we also need legislation requiring responsible lending right across the finance industry.”


You can contact us at:

0800 FINSEC (0800 346 732)
union@finsec.org.nz
www.finsec.org.nz


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